This week, I have a book recommendation for you: The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro. I’ve just finished it and let me just say, it is one of the best books I’ve ever read!! Here’s the jacket description:
As a society, we are forgetting that almost everything great that has ever happened in history happened because of people who believed in both Judeo-Christian values and in the Greek-born power of reason. In The Right Side of History, Shapiro sprints through more than 3500 years, dozens of philosophers, and the thicket of modern politics to show how our freedoms are built up on the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason that is capable of exploring God’s world…Yet we are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, scientific materialism, progressive politics, authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity. We can’t. The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains how we have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives each of us to be better and the sacred duty to work together for the greater good.
So good, right?? Just reading the jacket piqued my interest in a way that books haven’t in a long time. Now, I don’t want to spoil too much about the book. Every page was magnetic. I am rarely drawn in by a book but this is one of the books I didn’t want to put down.
Shapiro starts the book with a discussion of Judeo-Christian values and the Greek classical education and how they came together to form the modern world. As he continues, he offers an explanation for the current downward spiral of Western civilization. The historian in me is so happy with this book. It truly made me value my classical education — if your schooling didn’t have a classical concentration, I highly recommend reading the classics and studying the ancient world. I’m not even graduated and I’ve been so thankful for this education so many times already. I think what really got to me about this book was the hopeful and optimistic ending. We can turn Western civilization around. It is, in fact, possible. But even more important than recognizing that fact is understanding that Western civilization is a gift. Its’ values, its’ lessons, the rhetoric, the language, the innovation, and the pure American spirit — none of this or the amazing, beautiful things that America has done for the world would be here if not for Judeo-Christian values and the Greek world.
In the closing of the book, Shapiro asks,
“In the end, are we all orphans? Are we bound to lose all those we love, and live and die alone? Are we specks blinking in and out of existence, leaving no trace? I don’t think we are. I think that the history of Western civilization shows that our parents live on in us — that when we accept our past, when we learn the lessons they teach us, when we recognize their wisdom even as we develop our own, we become a link in the chain of history. Our parents never die so long as we keep the flame of their ideals alive, and pass that flame along to our children.”
I don’t know about you but I think creating a legacy of love and patriotism is a far better gift to give our loved ones. Leave the world better than you found it.
I plan on making this a monthly series, so if there are any books you’d like me to read and write about, leave them in the comments!