Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Reviw - Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer

Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics


Charles Krauthammer

Category: Nonfiction: Politics & Washington, D.C.

Synopsis: Krauthammer presents dozens of his columns on politics and other personal topics.

Date finished: 5 November 2013   

Rating: ***½

Let’s get one thing straight. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve read lots of books on politics, by politicians, by presidents, by secretaries of state; I watch a LOT of news and listen to a lot of pundits. I’m up on the happenings in the Middle East, the ongoing skirmishes between Palestine and Israel, the democrat/republican divide, the liberal/conservative divide, domestic policies, economic issues, etc., etc., etc.


This book just about did me in. Krauthammer is easily the smartest man I’ve ever listened to. He’s clearheaded, educated, and full of conviction. He has a dry (very, very dry) wit, and he can bloviate on most any topic. And I thoroughly enjoyed the first half to two-thirds of the book. His essays on Border Collies and mathematics and chess were enormously engaging. I enjoyed the glimpse into his mind. I also enjoyed learning even more about the “Jewish problem” (meaning, the Palestinian/Israel issue).

But oh those essays on politics, war, and world issues. Heaven help me. Without a Ph.D. in political science, you may as well not bother. I was absolutely lost in some of the longer essays. And quite frankly, I was bored. After awhile I was so overloaded that I couldn’t even concentrate on the point he was making. It’s not that his prose was too academic, though he does have a sharp vocabulary, it’s that the ideas were just too big. Or something.

In short, love and respect the author, enjoyed the first two-thirds, pulled my hair out trying to finish it.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
Eh. I don’t think so.

You might also enjoy:
An American Life, Ronald Reagan
No Higher Honor, Condoleezza Rice
Decision Points, George W. Bush

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