Friday, May 05, 2006


So my copy of Harvey Mansfield's new book arrived yesterday. After reading the intro and first chapter rather closely, I have to say that so far it makes a worthy companion to Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. It also seems to be a good primer to deeper thinking than most people engage in, sort of a combination of a Philospophy for Dummies and Straussianism for Dummies. He does seems to be pulling his punches a bit (although not without sacrificing hidden meaning entirely--see below for more on that)

It's also a great book because a Machiavelli-like idiom pervades the book (since Mansfield is a great scholar of Machiavelli, following in Strauss's footsteps [Mansfield's words paraphrased], this makes a lot of sense); there is a lot of delicious irony that won't be noticible if you're not familiar with Mansfield's other opinions in philosophy, or the works of famous authors like Plato, Nietzsche, or Adam Smith, to name only a very few; he even has double-meaning in his endnotes, which means one could really bumble along if one doesn't read (by that I mean really read; I think the double-meaning in the endnotes is kind of funny in a way). Since the book is getting a moderate amount of attention from a non-scholarly audience (a local talk radio host interviewed Mansfield a few weeks back about the book), it'd be amusing to talk about the book with people of that type to see what they took away from the book (I'm guessing the critique of modern feminism and the call for men to be manly again will be what sticks the most).

Also, I just love the title. The word Manliness is a great word that just doesn't get used enough any more. At the very least, it just rolls of the tongue in such a pleasing way. Manliness, heh. Hopefully a lot of men will read the book and be gentlemen, leaders, and philosophers: ie, real men.

Consider this the first Maroonblog book endorsement. Oprah, watch out.

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