Category Archives: Book Reviews


by on September 4th, 2014

Refusing to make exceptions to absolute moral norms is not unrealistic, imprudent, or inhumane. The purpose of norms is to promote human flourishing and protect what is good

by on August 15th, 2014

Edward Feser’s latest book gives readers who are familiar with analytic philosophy an excellent overview of scholastic metaphysics in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.

by on August 5th, 2014

While Adam Seagrave offers a provocative and original reading of Locke, his assumptions about the self and ownership are deeply problematic.

by on July 18th, 2014

The “why?” we ask of God receives its most persuasive answer in the beauty, the love, and the heroic devotion of human life.

by on June 23rd, 2014

Today, we face a movement to accomplish on a societal level what those who embrace morally condemned behavior have always sought as individuals: rationalization.

by on June 11th, 2014

A new book tells the harrowing story of Memorial Medical Center, where some physicians took the lives of their patients during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

by on May 13th, 2014

Abolitionism provides the example for how to fight for a cause: underscore the humanity of those whose humanity is denied, provide compassionate care for those affected, name the lies that dehumanize and kill, and tirelessly argue for the truth about “who counts.”

by on April 28th, 2014

It is ethically permissible to deliberately choose actions that lead to the death of an innocent person—but not to intend his or her death.

by on April 16th, 2014

Steven Smith’s new book implies that it is still possible—though difficult—to recover what made the U.S. a land of free and flourishing belief.

by on April 7th, 2014

Although Nigel Biggar’s new book on just war has many strengths, the author gets himself into a moral muddle over the question whether the deaths of innocent non-combatants can be deliberately chosen in war.

by on March 31st, 2014

Why bother with American culture? Bottum recommends despair.

by on March 18th, 2014

For Justice Clarence Thomas, the foundation of all our law lies in the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, beginning with human equality.

by on February 25th, 2014

Both natural law thought and the Catechism agree: animals are not part of the same justice community as human beings, because they do not possess the dignity that comes from existing as a rational being.

by on February 24th, 2014

Animals are not simply “a gift for human beings.” The needless cruelty inflicted on animals by factory farming not only violates a duty to provide them just treatment, but far outweighs the goods that humans gain by eating such meat.

by on February 12th, 2014

Thomas Paine’s rationalistic emphasis on freedom, equality, and rights form the basis of our political discourse. Even so, Edmund Burke has something essential to teach us: the way we order our society will always be the consequence, first and foremost, of the way we love.

by on January 30th, 2014

The differences between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine shed light on contemporary politics, argues Yuval Levin in his new book. But they also shed light on something deeper: two fundamentally contrasting orientations toward the world.

by on January 17th, 2014

The embrace of a materialist and mechanistic view of the world, taking its inspiration from the rise of modern science, results in a loss of the sense of transcendence. But God is not simply some finite object in a universe of other objects—he is reason, being, and order itself.

by on January 7th, 2014

Every economic system is based upon an implicit vision of the human person. Maciej Zieba’s new book provides an introduction to Catholic social thought that examines the anthropologies of Catholicism, liberal democracy, and the free-market economy.

by on December 20th, 2013

Because animals are not truly our equals, advocating that we should treat them as such weakens the pro-life cause. But animals are meant to be part of our households, and the way we treat them should express beauty and virtue, not decay, pride, and domination.

by on December 19th, 2013

Charles Camosy’s new book argues that we should treat animals with the same Christian justice that underlies our treatment of other people. But human beings and other animals are not fundamentally equal in the way that all human beings are, as free and rational beings created in the image of God.

by on December 18th, 2013

Infertile parents who desperately seek a child might see anonymous sperm donation as the solution to their fertility difficulties. But as the stories in the Anonymous Us collective reveal, the difficulties faced by donor-conceived children are just beginning.

by on December 12th, 2013

How should Christians form relationships with Muslims?

by on November 25th, 2013

With optimism, precision, and intellectual elegance, Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind” defined what it meant to be an American conservative for the second half of the twentieth century.

by on November 22nd, 2013

Jonathan Rauch, in his memoir Denial, argues that only access to the institution of marriage can make gays and lesbians whole. In doing so, he purposefully suppresses the truth that there are many other options available to those who are attracted to persons of the same sex.

by on November 18th, 2013

One Body, by Alexander Pruss, melds rigorous philosophical analysis and insightful moral theology to advance a clearly-articulated system of sexual ethics based on the call to love.

by on November 4th, 2013

In most cases, Catholic social teaching provides the correct principles for resolving complex social and economic questions, not specific policy requirements. Nathan Shlueter reviews Sam Gregg’s new book in the voice of Paul Ryan.

by on October 24th, 2013

Radical, by Maajid Nawaz, brings the reader inside the individual human dynamics of one young man’s transition into extremist Islamism and his eventual departure from it.

by on July 29th, 2013

A young Muslim author learns to seek the truth about God through questioning instead of blind faith.

by on July 19th, 2013

In his new book on Abraham Lincoln, Rich Lowry depicts our famous president as a lover of freedom, commerce, and progress whom we revere on the same plane as the founders because he, like them, articulated enduring principles that we still value.

by on June 25th, 2013

Gabriel Schoenfeld’s new book, A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign, offers an insider’s account of how misguided campaign tactics led to Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 presidential election.

by on June 5th, 2013

In The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Rod Dreher eulogizes his little sister with a hagiography worthy of St. Therese herself, while also evaluating his own relationships—to people and to place—according to the virtue of stability proposed by St. Benedict.

by on April 5th, 2013

As Stephen Krason’s new book argues, America has departed from the founders’ design, and the founders may be partially responsible. But this claim is only as strong as the interpretation of the founding behind it.

by on February 26th, 2013

Jonathan Last’s new book attributes population decline and the birth dearth to two trends that started in the Enlightenment era—first, an effort to limit death; second, an effort to control birth. Both trends are guided by a desire to control nature.

by on February 22nd, 2013

Calvin Coolidge is an exemplar for conservative leaders because he was the very opposite of an ideological dreamer; he saw his vocation as a duty to provide the country that elected him with honest and frugal government that respected limits.

by on January 4th, 2013

Michael Klarman’s history of the push for same-sex marriage shows just how recently it’s developed and how its leaders lack substantive arguments for the nature and purpose of marriage itself.

by on November 6th, 2012

The Reformation unintentionally undid the medieval synthesis of faith and reason. Now we romantically seek a spiritual life free from authority and tradition, or rationalistically seek truth as if human beings were autonomous and self-sufficient.

by on October 3rd, 2012

A new argument that reduces marriage to any consensual caring relationship is grounded by a cynical view of human nature that we ought not accept.

by on October 1st, 2012

Hannah Rosin’s argument that women are replacing men as victors in a battle of the sexes ignores that happiness requires women and men to be partners, not competitors, in life.

by on September 26th, 2012

The Hebrew Scriptures, read as a work of political theory, offer egalitarian, communitarian, and individualistic themes; two recent books incompletely capture the presence of all three.

by on September 20th, 2012

Is inequality the cause of our worst social ills?

by on September 12th, 2012

Nathan Harden’s “Sex and God at Yale” graphically shows what moral bankruptcy and relativism has produced at the Ivies.

by on August 17th, 2012

Michael Rosen’s effort to clarify the history and meaning of dignity ignores Christianity’s important philosophical contributions.

by on August 10th, 2012

For Emile Durkheim, God and religion were nothing more than the idols of the tribe and the tribe's own self-worship; why do so many Western intellectuals take this as the last word on the subject? The second in a two-part series.

by on August 9th, 2012

Although religion and God-belief are in some sense an illusion for Jonathan Haidt, they are seen as an often salutary fiction insofar as they help people to overcome their self-centeredness and direct their efforts to a greater collective good. The first in a two-part series.

by on August 2nd, 2012

It’s far too easy when bickering about this or that policy, and particularly when the policy is morally charged, to miss the values modeled by good men and women when we disagree on the means.

by on July 3rd, 2012

Vigilance on behalf of religious liberty is a just response to what is highest and noblest in human experience—mankind’s relation to something higher and nobler than itself. Adapted from a monograph by the Witherspoon Institute’s Task Force on International Religious Freedom.

by on June 22nd, 2012

Man cannot properly be free without that by virtue of which his freedom has meaning.

by on June 12th, 2012

In his new book "Where the Conflict Really Lies," Alvin Plantinga levels a devastating critique against the “new atheism” espoused by thinkers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

by on June 1st, 2012

A book about sex by J. Budziszewski uses natural law arguments to persuade young adults of the moral benefits of purity.

by on May 29th, 2012

By showing the triumph of the therapeutic over the orthodox in American Christianity, Ross Douthat’s latest book gives Americans on both sides of the political divide much to consider.

Featured


by Mark Regnerus on August 11th, 2014
Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage are more likely to think pornography, cohabitation, hook-ups, adultery, polyamory, and abortion are acceptable. And it’s reasonable to expect continued change in more permissive directions.
by Anthony Esolen on April 23rd, 2013
The Boy Scouts are en route to holding that there is nothing to being a boy, and nothing to the boy’s becoming a man; they might as well be the Unisex Scouts, as they are in Canada, where the scouting movement has collapsed.
by Serena Sigillito on February 14th, 2014
Valentine’s Day is usually associated with romance, but love matters in politics, too. In working to change our culture, we must remember that our opponents, like our allies, are human beings whose individual conversions can only be wrought through a combination of love, truth, and free will.
by Alana S. Newman on December 3rd, 2013
“Eggsploitation” reveals the predatory practices of the fertility industry, which lures young women in need of money to undergo medical procedures that carry the risk of severe long-term health problems.
by Charles J. Chaput on August 7th, 2014
It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God. Adapted from an address delivered August 6th at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium.

Web Briefings



Select Publications