Versailles at 100

By |2018-12-31T12:59:10-05:00January 1st, 2019|

The Great War, in Woodrow Wilson’s view, had to become precisely what the delegates to the Congress of Vienna feared: a moral crusade, an instrument of social and political revolution… For American president Woodrow Wilson, the First World War was the “war to end all wars” by making “the world safe for democracy,” not [...]

“Ode to Death”

By |2018-11-11T22:47:29-05:00November 11th, 2018|

Editor's Note: Gustav Holst wrote his "Ode to Death" in 1918-1919 in the wake of World War I. Though he received a medical exemption from military service, Holst had composer-friends who served (Ralph Vaughan Williams) and died (George Butterworth) in the horrific combat on the Western Front. The text of "Ode to Death" sets a section [...]

100 Years On: World War I Ends, and Endless War Begins

By |2018-11-11T00:07:56-05:00November 11th, 2018|

The 11th hour of the 11th day of this November marks the centennial of the end of World War I, the end of European ascendancy on the world stage, and the rise of American global power. For some the end of World War I also demarcates the end of a more innocent, more civilized world [...]

C.S. Lewis in Wartime: Patriot & Prophet

By |2018-07-18T16:24:12-05:00July 18th, 2018|

Though C.S. Lewis had certainly been a patriot in the First World War, he was determined to be a prophet in the Second. In his speeches and his writings, he spoke directly to a people roused by the heat of battle and war, when morality and norms traditionally fail, even in the best societies… [...]

Tolkien at Exeter College

By |2019-04-18T12:41:41-05:00July 2nd, 2018|

Though J.R.R. Tolkien arrived at Exeter College as a Classics (Great Books) scholar, he found his real passion resided in Germanic and Northern language and myth… Tolkien at Exeter College: How An Oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-earth by John Garth (66 pages, Exeter College, 2015) Never judge a book by its size. This little book is [...]

Frederic Manning’s “Her Privates We”: A Mystery of the Great War

By |2017-12-23T01:05:58-05:00December 22nd, 2017|

Neither a pacifist’s nor a militant’s novel, Her Privates We is praiseworthy both for its unforgettable characters and for its compelling, if necessarily tentative, exploration of this mystery of personhood under extreme pressure… Her Privates We by Frederic Manning (272 pages, Serpent’s Tail, 1999) Almost everyone enjoys a good detective story, and Her Privates We [...]

Tolkien, Lewis, and Weapons of Mass Destruction

By |2017-11-19T21:08:24-05:00November 19th, 2017|

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fought to defend Faith and Family from attacks upon them by modern-day dragons, but they would not wield the power of the Deplorable Word, nor the power of the Ring, to destroy their enemies, simultaneously destroying the lives of innocent victims in the process… In “Litany of the Lost,” [...]

“Disabled”

By |2017-11-11T14:06:14-05:00November 11th, 2017|

He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey, Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn, Voices of play and pleasure after day, Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him. […]

Should Religious Symbols Be Banned on Public Lands?

By |2018-06-21T20:37:27-05:00November 7th, 2017|

The Supreme Court’s decisions on “public displays” of religion have not been as categorical as its decisions on, for instance, school prayer… Is a long-standing commemorative cross on public land socially divisive and a governmental endorsement of religion? Or, to the contrary, is a constitutional challenge to that cross an act of gratuitous social divisiveness? Recently, [...]

In Memory of The Battle of The Somme

By |2016-10-21T22:31:42-05:00October 21st, 2016|

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest conflagrations in human history in which more than a million men were killed or wounded. One of the lucky survivors was J.R.R. Tolkien, who described the battle as being an “animal horror.” Bearing the psychological scars of this horror for [...]

Is “Downton Abbey” a Fairytale?

By |2016-08-13T22:23:43-05:00August 13th, 2016|

The roaring success of the English television drama Downton Abbey had little to do with the grand house, the sumptuous costumes, the superb cast and intricately intriguing storyline. Having just finished watching the final season, it occurred to me that the series’s success has everything to do with fairytales. […]

The Christian Adventure Stories of Mark Adderley

By |2016-02-07T00:35:50-05:00February 7th, 2016|

Last month, I was fortunate enough to once again work at the Kansas City Catholic Homeschool Conference.  As I was setting up my table, a couple sat down at the table next to mine and began to set up their table for the conference. We introduced ourselves and ended up chatting throughout the two-day [...]

Tolkien’s War

By |2016-02-12T15:27:54-05:00November 3rd, 2015|

Since the appearance of John Garth’s excellent Tolkien and the Great War in 2003, a number of scholars and writers have explored the role and influence of war on the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and other members of the Inklings. In reviewing Mr. Garth’s book when it came out, I noted that [...]

Dialogue with a White Supremacist

By |2015-08-19T02:03:40-05:00August 19th, 2015|

Years ago, as an angry young man, I was a leading member of a white supremacist organization in my native England. I am no longer young, nor am I angry, and in my book Race with the Devil I have endeavoured to tell the story of my journey from racial hatred to rational love. [...]