Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: Charles Krauthammer, MD, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics. Crown Fourm, 384 Pages, Index, $28.50

I am reviewing Things That Matter, with two questions in mind:
  • Why has the book suddenly rocketed to number one on the New York Times best seller list?
  • What does Krauthammer have to say about ObamaCare's problems? 
The answer to the second question is easy: Nothing.  The book was written before news broke  on, the wave of health care cancellations, and the broken promises and untruths.

Before I address the second question, a word about the book's structure.  It is a collection of 87 previously published essays in The New Republic,  Time, and the Washington Post.  Most of the pieces are Washington Post columns dating from 1984.

Krauthammer splits the book into two parts.  Part one  portrays his feelings about great men, manners, follies, and mysteries of the universe.  Part two delves into the great issues of the times - the state and individuals,   conservatives and liberals,  immigration and amnesty,  ethics of life and death, fate of Judaism,  the Cold War,  terrors of Islam, and what's to come.

The highlight of the book is the introduction. In it, Krauthammer describes what matters to him - manners,  health care, curiosities, conundrams, social and ethical dilemmas and falsehoods, , his passions and pastimes - chess, dogs, baseball, and above all else. politics. He talks of politics as the guiding light for civilization,  and of his evolution from an idealistic Great Society liberal to a pragmatic conservative.

The reasons for success Things That Matter as a best seller are, in my opinion,  Krauthammer's  beautiful, lucid writing style,  his wide exposure at a Fox News analyst,   his presentation of alternatives to liberalism, and his charm and non-ideological approach to the issues of the day.   He is open-minded, charming, and non-judgmental.   More on these matters in a future blog post.

Tweet:  Charles Krauthammer's book "Things That Matter" has risen to #1 on the New York  Times best seller list  because it describes why liberalism has failed and why conservatism offers a better alternative.

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