Category Archives: Books

Ulysses by James Joyce: Great Books Explained

Even before James Joyce’s Ulysses was published it was causing trouble. Short excerpts appeared in a review magazine, and the US postal service claiming it was pornography refused to deliver the magazines and then burnt all the copies.

The Book that the West Needs – with Stephen Blackwood (Video)

In this discussion, we talk about Stephen’s wonderful book, The Consolation of Boethius as Poetic Liturgy, an exploration of The Consolation of Philosophy, a book by Boethius. We discuss Boethius’ role and contribution to the Medieval Western world and the amazing treasury of wisdom and consolation he can still offer us today. His legacy beautifully bridges and synthesizes the ancient pagan world, and a secular space, with the foundations and hope of a Christian vision.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Great Books Explained (Video)

As internet users, we all understand the expression “Going Down a Rabbit Hole”, which comes from the much-loved book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book famously begins when the main character, Alice, follows a white rabbit underground, and finds herself going deeper and deeper into a strange world – somewhere in which normal social rules, and even laws of physics, are suspended.

Great Gatsby: Great Books Explained (Video)

This is a story about the American Dream. No other decade defined America like the 1920s. The country was coming into its own and fulfilling its promise of freedom and prosperity, but already the dream was showing its cracks, and the decade that followed would test America to its very core. One book would serve as a prophetic warning to its audience and still offer a glimmer of hope about the American ideal.

Emily Dickinson: Great Books Explained (Video)

The popularity of Emily Dickinson’s poetry has always been bound up with interest in her unconventional life. In her lifetime she was the focus of town gossip and this speculation continues today: about her mental health, her beliefs and her sexuality.

Moby-Dick: Great Books Explained (Video)

Herman Melville, the author of Moby-Dick, worked on a whaling ship as a harpoonist, literally at the sharp end of that gruesome business. And he took those experiences of life at sea and combined them with a love of William Shakespeare and the King James bible, to create a great American novel about obsession and compulsion. Moby-Dick pre-empts the work of Freud and Jung and the very modern quest to understand the psychology of the human mind, and it is just as much a story of the inner journey to the recesses of the human psyche as it is a journey across the vast blue oceans.

History of Prussia – John S. C. Abbott (Book)

Fascinating account of the Rise of the Prussian Empire. The first part of the book examines the early years of Prussia— from its rise from a minor duchy to a major European power under Frederick the Great, to its struggles with France during the Napoleonic era. Most of the book however, is dedicated to the formation of the German Empire under Bismarck which made Prussia the predominant power in Europe. It ends with a detailed description of the Franco-Prussian war and the calamity of the Paris Commune, which occurred only a year before the book was written.

Click here to read History of Prussia.

The Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt

The Rough Riders (1899) is the story of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, the regiment Roosevelt led to enduring fame during the Spanish-American War. With his characteristic élan he recounts how the regiment was raised from an unusual mixture of privileged Northeastern college men and hardened Southwestern frontiersmen—“these grim hunters of the mountains, these wild rough riders of the plains”—and how it trained in Texas and then “sailed southward through the tropic seas toward the unknown.”

Click here to read The Rough Riders.

Rome and Jerusalem: A Study in Jewish Nationalism by Moses Hess, Meyer Waxman – Book

Rome and Jerusalem is a book published by Moses Hess in 1862 in Leipzig. It gave impetus to the Labor Zionism movement. In his magnum opus, Hess argued for the Jews to return to Palestine, and proposed a socialist country in which the Jews would become agrarianised through a process of “redemption of the soil”.

Click here to read Rome and Jerusalem.

World Revolution: Plot Against Civilization – Nesta Webster

This insightful and comprehensive study of European Revolutionary movements identifies common threads between the philosophies of world-conquest promoted by the ‘Illuminati’, and the Socialist, Anarchist, Nihilist, and Trade-Union movements of the 19th century. Webster’s special focus is on Revolutionary movements in France, Germany, and Russia. Her commentaries on major social philosophers and activists including Babeuf, Saint-Simon, Louis Blanc, Marx, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Sorel, are well-researched and profound.

In reply to numerous enquiries as to whether the statements I made in The French Revolution have since been disproved, I take this opportunity to say that, as far as I am aware, no one has attempted to bring forward any contrary evidence. The Socialist press was completely silent, whilst hostile reviewers in the general press contented themselves with saying the work was “biassed,” but without quoting chapter and verse in support of this assertion. My book was not intended to be the last word on the FrenFch Revolution, but the first attempt, in English, to tell the truth, and had my view on any essential point been shown to be erroneous, I should have been perfectly ready to readjust it in further editions. No such honest challenge was made, however; my opponents preferring the method of creating prejudice against my work by attributing to me views I never expressed. Thus, at the moment of this book going to press, it has been brought to my notice that I am represented as having attacked British Freemasonry. This can only have been said in malice, as I have always clearly differentiated between British and Continental masonry, showing the former to be an honourable association not only hostile to subversive doctrines but a strong supporter of law, order, and religion. (See The French Revolution, pp. 20 and 492.) I am in fact indebted to certain distinguished British masons for valuable help and advice in my work, which I here gratefully acknowledge.

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Click here to read World Revolution: Plot Against Civilization.