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Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that have spread all across the planet. Political correctness now obscures these and other truths about Western civilization. Leftists and Islamic jihadists find common cause in assailing Western "colonialism," "imperialism," and "racism" as its defining characteristics. Guilt-ridden Western leaders and public figures speak of their cultural patrimony in disparaging terms they would never dare to use about a non-Western culture. And in universities, "multicultural"-minded professors flatter students into believing they have nothing really to learn from Sophocles or Shakespeare. But now, Professor Anthony Esolen--one of the team-teachers of Providence College's esteemed Development of Western Civilization Core Curriculum--has risen to the West's defense. The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Western Civilization takes on the prevailing liberal assumptions that make Western civilization the universal whipping boy for today's global problems - and introduces you to the significant events, individuals, nations, ideas, and artistic achievements that make Western civilization the greatest the world has ever known. Today, defending the West has become an urgent imperative: if we don't value what we have and what we have inherited, we will surely lose it. The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Western Civilization is an essential sourcebook for that defense.


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Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that have spread all across the planet. Political correctness now obscures these and other truths about Western civilization. Leftists and Islamic jihadists find common cause in assailing Western "colonialism," "imperialism," and "racism" as its defining characteristics. Guilt-ridden Western leaders and public figures speak of their cultural patrimony in disparaging terms they would never dare to use about a non-Western culture. And in universities, "multicultural"-minded professors flatter students into believing they have nothing really to learn from Sophocles or Shakespeare. But now, Professor Anthony Esolen--one of the team-teachers of Providence College's esteemed Development of Western Civilization Core Curriculum--has risen to the West's defense. The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Western Civilization takes on the prevailing liberal assumptions that make Western civilization the universal whipping boy for today's global problems - and introduces you to the significant events, individuals, nations, ideas, and artistic achievements that make Western civilization the greatest the world has ever known. Today, defending the West has become an urgent imperative: if we don't value what we have and what we have inherited, we will surely lose it. The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Western Civilization is an essential sourcebook for that defense.

30 review for The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Geddie

    I picked it up on a whim, thinking it was another book focusing on minor or unheard of events. Instead I was faced with a very, very slanted version of history where the author made no attempt to avoid inserting his personal feelings and interpretations into history. To begin with, I certainly agree with him that early western civilization has gotten shortchanged in classrooms of late, although I tend to think that it has more to do with an education system focused on a one-size-fits-all solutio I picked it up on a whim, thinking it was another book focusing on minor or unheard of events. Instead I was faced with a very, very slanted version of history where the author made no attempt to avoid inserting his personal feelings and interpretations into history. To begin with, I certainly agree with him that early western civilization has gotten shortchanged in classrooms of late, although I tend to think that it has more to do with an education system focused on a one-size-fits-all solution. Contrary to what the author may think, I don't believe that multiculturalism is the problem. I think it has more to do with the structure of classrooms that bring all discourse down to the same level--the level needed to pass the test. I do agree that in our desire to prepare kids for a multicultural world, we don't lose our sight of Western culture and history. I certainly not offended by the book-- mostly just perplexed by the level of intellectual dishonesty it evidenced. Any source material that supports his beliefs is taken as irrefutable proof of the wisdom of that time period. Anything the people of that time period did that goes against his personal beliefs is an example of what they got wrong. The author is an ethical absolutist rather than a relativist (of which be mentions quite a bit), but even here there levels. And it's likely un-PC to say so, but his tendency to gloss over ever misstep of the Catholic Church and attack nearly every movement of the Protestant faith is likely to unnerve even conservative readers. Likewise, Female readers of any political stripe will also find it hard going. It's true that there are not a wealth of modern females in history, but to use this to degrade women's right shows a misunderstanding of history. Truthfully, the history of women is as unknown to us as is the early activities of the African tribes, because there are no written records recorded by these groups--only by outsiders looking in. And to say that the suffrage for women and the entry of women into the workforce has had no benefits is being deliberately obtuse. A couple comments for example of the extreme views. *He dares the reader to find any American teacher who knows the name of another Revolutionary War general other than Washington. I'm sure there are bad teachers out there, but get real. Oh, and likewise no English teacher can recite a Robert Frost poem. *The Scarlet Pimpernel is an example of pro-aristocracy writing. Isn't a less extreme view that it's against revolutionary fervor and the loss of innocent lives? *Darwin created Hitler. I know the Origin of the Species is a hot topic for many, but this really is quite a stretch. *In lauding the country virtues and degrading the historical cities as "cultural sinkholes," the author never quite gets past that it's the cities that have produced almost every work of literature, history, philosophy and science that he references. *To lay the fall of the Roman Empire on high taxes seems to be trying too hard for a modern corollary. (Although I agree that the rise of Christianity was probably only a minor factor as the new faith showed itself perfectly capable of going to war even in the early days.) If anything, splitting the Empire in two left both sides weakened and ill-inclined to defend the other, losing the benefit of Empire. The book is a nice resource for its listings and bibliographies and it's certainly an interesting perspective. However, what bothers me most is the zealotry where the author himself seems to disregard any alternative interpretation of events. Troublingly, there are some moment of true wisdom in there, but there's buried beneath hysterical claims and questionable comparisons. The author brings up some novel points that should be discussed, but as commentary and theory rather than as history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Reza Amiri Praramadhan

    A very interesting book, which challenges the notion that the Dark Ages was really dark, and that science and rationality are the pinnacle of Western Civilisation (parts on Blaise Pascal and Samuel Johnson are some of my favorite parts). A good book to hit at the science-loving, rationality-worshipping liberals. A must read for every conservatives, or everyone who felt that they had stranded into the path of liberalism.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    I teach a Western civilization course for a tutorial service and I thought I would check out this book. Esolen writes in a very readable style and touches on the history, art, ideas and people that have made the Western world what it is. He comes from a strong Catholic perspective and is not apologetic about it. He brings up some excellent points that in our politically correct society we overlook or downplay. I would not use it as a textbook but I have used some of his points in class and looke I teach a Western civilization course for a tutorial service and I thought I would check out this book. Esolen writes in a very readable style and touches on the history, art, ideas and people that have made the Western world what it is. He comes from a strong Catholic perspective and is not apologetic about it. He brings up some excellent points that in our politically correct society we overlook or downplay. I would not use it as a textbook but I have used some of his points in class and looked further at some of the books he recommended. At a time when many high schools and universities are watering down their curriculum and not assigning the reading of the great books or discussing some of the great philosophers or leaders of the Western Civilization this book challenges us to rethink that and realize what a rich heritage we have

  4. 4 out of 5

    Noah Sturdevant

    Smarmy, self righteous, and lacking in actual history, this is not a book I can recommend. I found out while reading that the whole "Politically Incorrect" book series is just an excuse for right wing nut-jobs to spout off about their religious beliefs and mostly ignore the topics they pretend to cover. I stuck with it to the end, but I am giving up on this series. Smarmy, self righteous, and lacking in actual history, this is not a book I can recommend. I found out while reading that the whole "Politically Incorrect" book series is just an excuse for right wing nut-jobs to spout off about their religious beliefs and mostly ignore the topics they pretend to cover. I stuck with it to the end, but I am giving up on this series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Miller

    Great for what it is: a guide to read alongside other histories. I expect even liberals could get value out of this book, because it raises good questions and encourages critical thinking. And it's full of recommendations for learning material. I found the early chapters on Greece and Rome most interesting. Toward the end, it feels like Esolen is stretching a bit, but good points are made throughout. For most interested readers, there's likely some preaching to the choir, but even those familiar Great for what it is: a guide to read alongside other histories. I expect even liberals could get value out of this book, because it raises good questions and encourages critical thinking. And it's full of recommendations for learning material. I found the early chapters on Greece and Rome most interesting. Toward the end, it feels like Esolen is stretching a bit, but good points are made throughout. For most interested readers, there's likely some preaching to the choir, but even those familiar arguments are laced with interesting tidbits. It has me itching to try another Politically Incorrect Guide.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Anthony Esolen is a brilliant writer in every way, with incredible insights into the reason our culture is where it is today. He explores the good and the bad of our historical and philosophical underpinnings, starting with the ancient world and spinning the thread through time into the modern era. This is well worth a read and a purchase, and I'll keep it on my shelf for future reading and reference (although you should know that, as good as this is, many of his other books are even stronger be Anthony Esolen is a brilliant writer in every way, with incredible insights into the reason our culture is where it is today. He explores the good and the bad of our historical and philosophical underpinnings, starting with the ancient world and spinning the thread through time into the modern era. This is well worth a read and a purchase, and I'll keep it on my shelf for future reading and reference (although you should know that, as good as this is, many of his other books are even stronger because he is able to expound with his own organizational style there.) Highly, highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Larry Orr

    Despite some annoying but minor factual errors such as describing as English the Scottish philosopher David Hume and the Irish statesman Edmund Burke and calling Königsberg the "imperial capital" of eighteenth-century Prussia--a kingdom, not an empire, whose capital was Berlin--I found Esolen's romp through the arts, ideas and literature that form the bedrock of Western civilization to be exciting and inspiring. Despite some annoying but minor factual errors such as describing as English the Scottish philosopher David Hume and the Irish statesman Edmund Burke and calling Königsberg the "imperial capital" of eighteenth-century Prussia--a kingdom, not an empire, whose capital was Berlin--I found Esolen's romp through the arts, ideas and literature that form the bedrock of Western civilization to be exciting and inspiring.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Excellent analysis that dismays but leaves us with hope. A must read for all parents of school-aged children. The analysis dismays, but at the last, there is hope for the West. I pray that we may be given a glimpse of that hope being realized.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Fantastic book. Highly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kaz

    Valid and convincing arguments can be made that CNN and MSNBC are biased and manipulative left-wing news organizations. However, that conclusion does not make Fox News the purveyor of balanced news. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization is the Fox News of history books. If you consider yourself a centrist, classical liberal, libertarian, or anything of that sort and you were hoping for a different perspective on western civilization, this book will disappoint you. The author is Valid and convincing arguments can be made that CNN and MSNBC are biased and manipulative left-wing news organizations. However, that conclusion does not make Fox News the purveyor of balanced news. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization is the Fox News of history books. If you consider yourself a centrist, classical liberal, libertarian, or anything of that sort and you were hoping for a different perspective on western civilization, this book will disappoint you. The author is very comfortable inserting his own opinions and (sometimes irrelevant) commentary into the text and within just a few pages you come to understand his views on homosexuals, women, and atheism, and it's not pretty. There may be a lot of valid criticism to be had of left-wing interpretations of the history of western civilization, but this book is a breathless over-correction, and consequently does little to add to the conversation. I applaud the author's anti-moral relativism stance, but being against moral relativism alone is not enough. One must be on a never-ending quest for truth, which is something the author appears to be lacking; he is right, his critics are wrong, the end. The fact that this book presents a non-left-wing view of history alone doesn't make it correct. Instead, it serves a purpose, that purpose being to attract and validate the pre-existing opinions of those who would call themselves conservative (in the U.S.) or right-wing. If you are looking for a discussion with any nuance, you will have to seek elsewhere.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Although I am wary of “the next worldview book,” and while this certainly isn’t intended to be a worldview book, it is probably the best worldview book there is. And probably for that reason it doesn’t even mention worldview once. It isn’t so much that politically correct views are logically false. They are. What makes this book superior is that it stirs the spirit–what earlier English authors meant by refining our sentiments. Greece Sophocles: Beware of passing laws that alienate man from his bei Although I am wary of “the next worldview book,” and while this certainly isn’t intended to be a worldview book, it is probably the best worldview book there is. And probably for that reason it doesn’t even mention worldview once. It isn’t so much that politically correct views are logically false. They are. What makes this book superior is that it stirs the spirit–what earlier English authors meant by refining our sentiments. Greece Sophocles: Beware of passing laws that alienate man from his being. Why did Greece make the jumps it made in logical thought and mathematics? Esolen argues because Greece’s religious views, while wrong, were an advancement over earlier nature religions. Nature religion, the old gods, venerated the Earth Mother. This was the tribe. Blood ruled. Aeschylus illustrates reason’s victory over nature religion in the Orestia. Clytemnestra kills Agammenon. Orestes face’s the dilemma: as this is a capital offense, he would have to kill his mother. Yet, killing his mother is one of the supreme crimes. He does, in fact, kill his mother and is pursued by the Furies. Athena intervenes and rules in favor of Orestes. The polis triumphs over the tribe. Reason, at least in its inchoate form, triumphs over nature religion. Nine Inconvenient Truths About Greek Homosexuality Plato and the Philosophers The explanation of the universe can’t be material, since that, too, must also be explained. Man has three parts: appetite, spirit, soul/mind. The worst kind of society is one where the appetite rules. If we say that we want the mind to rule, we aren’t denigrating the body. We are putting it in a hierarchy. Happiness is the enjoyment of the intellect. Happiness, properly defined, doesn’t exist for the sake of anything else. A man will say, “If only I had a million dollars, then I would be happy.” No one says, “If only I were happy, then I could have a million dollars.” Rome I’m iffy on Esolen’s praising Rome’s patriarchy. True, it did ensure a stable order but not without costs. Further, it gave to the father judicial claims God never intended him to have. Looking past that, though, and understanding that they were pagans, Rome’s senatorial rule was something to behold, and the young scholar could do far worse than learning Latin and musing on Livy. Middle Ages This chapter was actually too good. It’s dangerous to paint glowing pictures on the Middle Ages, since they also conceal some ugly realities. Our nihilist times, though, focuses only on those realities. Our souls need to see the beauty again. While nothing can replace sanitation, modern dentistry, and clean water, the medievals were superior to us on several fronts: they were never lonely, saw far more nature than even the most green hippie today, and lived lives that weren’t alienated from the natural rhythms of the cosmos (which word, incidentally, we can’t claim today since it presupposes an ordered harmony). With the Renaissance onward Esolen, himself a Roman Catholic, has to wade the turbulent waters of Roman/Protestant polemics. He is fair. Aside from some fascinating insights on Renaissance man (who was as much a magician as a scientist), there isn’t much new here. If every Christian student read this book in high school, or at least before going to college, he or she would be adequately prepared for any intellectual challenges ahead

  12. 4 out of 5

    ladydusk

    Library. Blackstone Audio CD. I've been listening to this off and on since early January. I enjoyed it immensely. Esolen takes a strong view of Western Civilization as something to be preserved and cherished, despite its ups and downs throughout history. He holds out hope for the future based in his belief in God and Christ Jesus. A strong Catholic, there is a lot of Catholic thought included here, even defense of the institution of the Roman Catholic Church against revisionist historians who woul Library. Blackstone Audio CD. I've been listening to this off and on since early January. I enjoyed it immensely. Esolen takes a strong view of Western Civilization as something to be preserved and cherished, despite its ups and downs throughout history. He holds out hope for the future based in his belief in God and Christ Jesus. A strong Catholic, there is a lot of Catholic thought included here, even defense of the institution of the Roman Catholic Church against revisionist historians who would overemphasize the church's failings. Not being a Roman Catholic, some of this was unimpressive. I always liked history, more modern history, but have recently found an interest in the Ancients (probably because of Susan Wise Bauer's books). This is a nice general sweep through history, philosophy, and the movements of the day, whether today or in Ancient Rome. I found his discussion on the lack of darkness in the "Dark Ages" to be particularly interesting, even convincing. Many of the points he made here are meshed, reworked, or replayed into Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. I found listening to this whilst reading the other to be helpful, though, rather than redundant. I find Esolen's style to be listen-to-able, but just. There is simply too much information to glean in the audio format, too many things I would have liked to be reading, noting, looking up, but have lost the specifics of before I could (I often listen while cooking or driving). The reader, Malcom Hillgartner, was excellent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cav

    Had to put this one down. Did not like it at all. Maybe I was expecting something more from it, given that the description made it sound really interesting. Instead of interesting, I found it to be rambling and long-winded. The author writes this book like an evangelical; it is absolutely SATURATED with endless and unnecessary bible quotes. If I wanted to read the bible, I would do so. Terrible. Yes, I understand that the west was founded on Judeo-Christian values. You can convey that message withou Had to put this one down. Did not like it at all. Maybe I was expecting something more from it, given that the description made it sound really interesting. Instead of interesting, I found it to be rambling and long-winded. The author writes this book like an evangelical; it is absolutely SATURATED with endless and unnecessary bible quotes. If I wanted to read the bible, I would do so. Terrible. Yes, I understand that the west was founded on Judeo-Christian values. You can convey that message without providing 5,000 bible quotes. You're supposed to be writing a book based on a thesis, not evangelizing your religion. The book is not written in an engaging way. Rather, it is dry and bland. It makes for very arduous reading. I almost never put a book down, and move onto another, but I had to put this one down. There are other books and courses that cover this subject manner in a more interesting and engaging way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wes Brummer

    As with other books bearing this brand, "Politically Incorrect," (personally, it ought to be called Revisionist, but chalk it up to marketing.) the target audience are conservatives who want to see themselves as one of the "enlightened ones." Good luck with that. The book is a mish-mash of personal opinion, free-form bible lecture, and skewed facts. All of this filtered through a Fox News style commentary. I guess I was expecting a "Don't Knew Much About . . ." style of book, mixing stuff we were As with other books bearing this brand, "Politically Incorrect," (personally, it ought to be called Revisionist, but chalk it up to marketing.) the target audience are conservatives who want to see themselves as one of the "enlightened ones." Good luck with that. The book is a mish-mash of personal opinion, free-form bible lecture, and skewed facts. All of this filtered through a Fox News style commentary. I guess I was expecting a "Don't Knew Much About . . ." style of book, mixing stuff we were told that was wrong with obscure, but fascinating trivia. Not quite. Really, it was just a mess. I got about half way through before I gave up. I finally sent it to Kindle cloud-heaven. Unless you go in for this brand of book, avoid them like the Plague.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Venessa Sylvester

    I picked this up at a used bookstore and it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for. I can't recommend it, even though it is though provoking. The author's Catholicism is the centerpiece, and even conservatives will have a hard time getting through this one. There were interesting statements (not sure if I can call them facts) that made me want to dig deeper and verify, but the conclusions drawn from the statements didn't seem to match up. I also disagree with the central importance he gives t I picked this up at a used bookstore and it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for. I can't recommend it, even though it is though provoking. The author's Catholicism is the centerpiece, and even conservatives will have a hard time getting through this one. There were interesting statements (not sure if I can call them facts) that made me want to dig deeper and verify, but the conclusions drawn from the statements didn't seem to match up. I also disagree with the central importance he gives to poetry in general. Maybe I'm just too modern to appreciate his point of view in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Difficult to know how to rate this - much of the time I disagreed with the premises and agreed with the conclusions, or agreed with the premises and disagreed with the conclusions. Esolen has a good handle on the facts of Western history and even why they are important - but his own prejudices taint the entire work, in my opinion. Interesting because it is thought-provoking, but difficult to recommend.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    Spot on on so many issues. From Greek philosophy to the predicament we now find our western culture in, this book offers fair and balanced insight. While at times very critical of our culture, Esolen is hopeful, an outlook that I think is worth contemplating and adopting, especially if we truly have put our faith in Christ who ‘keeps His promises’. The book list alone is worth the purchase. I’ll be adding this to our homeschool books for discussion.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Oh my, this was fun. Esolen pulls no punches. I supposed those who need to hear would not listen to him for two seconds, but he does not seems to care. This certainly is not a history, so guide is a good title. He covers the ideas that defined Western Civ and their source, and their destruction as of late. Might learn some things you did not know.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Audio: MP3 56k Length: 11:05:55 H drive/non-fiction This is rather an inane excercise as comparison does not live up to what can possibly be expected and then even so we come up trumps. (regarding track four - comparing ancient greeks to modern inhabitants and the question of reciting national poets) All three of us can recite at length (ad naseum?) Rabbie Burns, John Betjeman, Evert Taube but this tirade insists we know about Frost whoderfuckisfrost? Okay - I get it - it's not Western Civilsation Audio: MP3 56k Length: 11:05:55 H drive/non-fiction This is rather an inane excercise as comparison does not live up to what can possibly be expected and then even so we come up trumps. (regarding track four - comparing ancient greeks to modern inhabitants and the question of reciting national poets) All three of us can recite at length (ad naseum?) Rabbie Burns, John Betjeman, Evert Taube but this tirade insists we know about Frost whoderfuckisfrost? Okay - I get it - it's not Western Civilsation that is invoked here (regardless of the title), it is yet another US-centric blast. Bet your college professor never told you: * Why "Western civ" is the story of...us * How the "Enlightenment" yielded tyranny and war * How climate change affects culture (hint: warmer is better) * Why Jesus is the most important figure in history * Why the Middle Ages were the real "Age of Reason"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adnan

    This book offers a very interesting account of many of the ideas we group together as Western Civilization. It samples those ideas and defends them on a historical basis, and in a Christian apologetic manner, which it does not shy away from. In fact, even though the book is gloomy, the author's intense faith brightens up the whole discussion in the end by recalling God's mercy, love, grace, and triumph over all things. The book opens up with a passage of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, which makes This book offers a very interesting account of many of the ideas we group together as Western Civilization. It samples those ideas and defends them on a historical basis, and in a Christian apologetic manner, which it does not shy away from. In fact, even though the book is gloomy, the author's intense faith brightens up the whole discussion in the end by recalling God's mercy, love, grace, and triumph over all things. The book opens up with a passage of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, which makes me love this book from its first page, and it recounts all those passages which have become very dear to me. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to challenge his prior opinions of Western Civilization, anyone who might be willing to change his opinion should a good counterargument is presented.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Sparks

    I normally like the PIG series but this author is awful. Most of these books are fairly conservative but this guy picks and chooses moments in history to illustrate how the Catholic Church is right about everything and women's rights are bad (not just abortion, pretty much any women's rights). I didn't finish it because he was so condescending. Plus he probably wouldn't want me reading this book anyway - I should probably be in the kitchen cooking dinner and taking care of my brood of children. I normally like the PIG series but this author is awful. Most of these books are fairly conservative but this guy picks and chooses moments in history to illustrate how the Catholic Church is right about everything and women's rights are bad (not just abortion, pretty much any women's rights). I didn't finish it because he was so condescending. Plus he probably wouldn't want me reading this book anyway - I should probably be in the kitchen cooking dinner and taking care of my brood of children.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Great historical perspective, but denser than I expected, and it sometimes veers off into what I considered to be the esoteric. Having a degree in philosophy would definitely help in absorbing the good information here. It also takes a strong Christian point of view, which I approve of but which some readers might find off-putting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Void lon iXaarii

    I was as far as I can remember of the belief that people are wrong to assume ancient people were stupid(er) and it's books like this that confirm my hypothesis. Some very deep stuff in here. Many fail to realize how many of their values are actually inherited, and many of them would be quite surprised how often they are inherited from exactly those they might be attacking. I was as far as I can remember of the belief that people are wrong to assume ancient people were stupid(er) and it's books like this that confirm my hypothesis. Some very deep stuff in here. Many fail to realize how many of their values are actually inherited, and many of them would be quite surprised how often they are inherited from exactly those they might be attacking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I liked and agreed with most of this. At the end the author concludes that the only way to rescue Western, i.e. American Civilization is for the nation to follow Jesus Christ. This is the entire premise of the Book of Mormon, so I heartily agree with him.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luke Marusiak

    A surprisingly thoughtful book There is a lot to recommend this book. It is a treasure of examples of the best that our civilization produced and a timely warning of emergence of State as God.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony M. Esolen might also be titled Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Because Western Civilization has resulted in many successful countries, it has become popular, especially among leftist progressives who see western success as unfair to other poor countries that haven't focused on improving their societies. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world univ The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony M. Esolen might also be titled Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about Western heritage. Because Western Civilization has resulted in many successful countries, it has become popular, especially among leftist progressives who see western success as unfair to other poor countries that haven't focused on improving their societies. Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that have spread all across the planet. Political correctness now obscures these and other truths about Western civilization. Leftists and Islamic jihadists find common cause in assailing Western "colonialism," "imperialism," and "racism" as its defining characteristics. As a result guilt-ridden Western leaders and public figures speak of their cultural patrimony in disparaging terms they would never dare to use about a non-Western culture. And in universities, "multicultural"-minded professors push non-western ideals as superior and pressure students to support their ideas. But now, Professor Anthony Esolen--one of the team-teachers of Providence College's esteemed Development of Western Civilization Core Curriculum--has risen to the West's defense. The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Western Civilization takes on the prevailing liberal assumptions that make Western civilization the universal whipping boy for today's global problems - and introduces you to the significant events, individuals, nations, ideas, and artistic achievements that make Western civilization the greatest the world has ever known. Today, defending the West has become an urgent imperative: if we don't value what we have and what we have inherited, we will surely lose it. The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Western Civilization is an essential sourcebook for that defense.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Galicius

    My shortcomings in knowing more of the hundreds of names mentioned and referenced by the author are the only limitation to better appreciating what the author does in this must-read exposé. A partial summary of what he tells us here is best described in his own words near the end: "So here is the most politically incorrect thing I can say about the twentieth century: The history of the last 100 to 150 years is the sorry tale of the growth of the State, and of the State’s toadies in education, mas My shortcomings in knowing more of the hundreds of names mentioned and referenced by the author are the only limitation to better appreciating what the author does in this must-read exposé. A partial summary of what he tells us here is best described in his own words near the end: "So here is the most politically incorrect thing I can say about the twentieth century: The history of the last 100 to 150 years is the sorry tale of the growth of the State, and of the State’s toadies in education, mass media, and mass entertainment, encouraging the community-dissolving individualism of desire (in the West; in the East people did not even get that), at the expense of Individualism of competence. It is a war of the individual now seen as a random Atom of sovereign choice, united with the almighty State, against their common enemies in the middle: the family, the community, national heritage, and the liberty they depended upon and fostered." (p. 289-90) Will the Western civilization renew itself? Professor Esolen sees hope because it was founded by “One who keeps His promises.” (p. 310)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I rated this book three stars because of the author's blatant bias in favor of the Roman Catholic church. The study of Western Civilization is the study of history. The author seems to present conclusions and then presents facts to back up those conclusions. In the process, he paints a picture of the Catholic church as being only a positive force throughout its history, while ignoring positive aspects of western civilization that took place only as a result of the Reformation. All that aside, the I rated this book three stars because of the author's blatant bias in favor of the Roman Catholic church. The study of Western Civilization is the study of history. The author seems to present conclusions and then presents facts to back up those conclusions. In the process, he paints a picture of the Catholic church as being only a positive force throughout its history, while ignoring positive aspects of western civilization that took place only as a result of the Reformation. All that aside, the book is good in that it points out some of the truly good qualities of western culture that many people are trying to downplay nowadays. Unfortunately, much of what is good in western culture is absent in this book. As "politically incorrect" book I'd give it high marks. As a history of western civilization, though, it is a fail. But then, the author's professional field is literature, not history.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Davis

    This book covers an expansive purview of Western Civilization, origins, history, and culture. As such the author just touches on all of these in a general overview. The narrative in particular illustrates what is good about the West, how the West became the leading culture and cornerstone of modern man through the Incarnation of Christ and the expansion of the Roman Catholic Church that would redeem all that was good in pre Christian western culture and assimilate all that was good in other cult This book covers an expansive purview of Western Civilization, origins, history, and culture. As such the author just touches on all of these in a general overview. The narrative in particular illustrates what is good about the West, how the West became the leading culture and cornerstone of modern man through the Incarnation of Christ and the expansion of the Roman Catholic Church that would redeem all that was good in pre Christian western culture and assimilate all that was good in other cultures in a way that only Catholic Europe was to bring about. Also listed are the names and ideals of those who would over the past few centuries up to the present seek to unravel all that has made Western Civilization in her religion, philosophy, literature, art, and music. I would have given this five stars but there was a few areas that I believe the author should have spent more time on. Oher than that, I highly recommend this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Millard

    A very brief look back at historical societies and specifically how they shaped modern Western civilization - and prefigured current errors. Specific emphasis on Greeks, Romans, and Reformation-era Europe. This book is both far too concise and opinionated to be an intense historical study - which is NOT to suggest that its author doesn't have a good grounding in history and philosophy, but merely to explain that this book's focus is more on polemics and a specific condemnation of errors that hav A very brief look back at historical societies and specifically how they shaped modern Western civilization - and prefigured current errors. Specific emphasis on Greeks, Romans, and Reformation-era Europe. This book is both far too concise and opinionated to be an intense historical study - which is NOT to suggest that its author doesn't have a good grounding in history and philosophy, but merely to explain that this book's focus is more on polemics and a specific condemnation of errors that have demonstrably and repeatedly led to the downfall of great societies. 4/5 for easy readability, many references and discussion of further reading on various topics, and general value in both entertainment and edification.

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