Here, There & Everywhere

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Readers of National Review will know Jay Nordlinger as one of their Senior Editors; he's also a prolific contributor to their website. (I've long suspected he also has a major hand in the unsigned "The Week" snippets at the front of each dead-tree issue.)

This book (published by "National Review Books" in 2007) is a selection of some of Mr. Nordlinger's essays and articles from the late 1990's and early 2000's. Confession: it was a freebie, in return for some past renewal or contribution, and I probably wouldn't have it otherwise. But it's an interesting and enjoyable read. I suggest small doses: I read it in 20-page chunks over the span of slightly over three weeks. Too much of even a good writer's style can get tedious after a while.

The entries are arranged into broad sections: there is, of course, the meat-and-potatoes political stuff, which, given the timeframe, is more than slightly dated. (There is, for example, no entry for "Obama, Barack" in the index, but dozens for Dubya, the Clintons, Gore, etc.) But it's worth remembering the issues from back then, who were the heroes, and who were the weasels. More often than not, I was reminded of that "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" thing.

In addition to Mr. Nordlinger's take on politics generally, he has also taken on more special fields as his own. One is the continuing horror of Communist tyranny in Cuba and China; he knows, and keeps track of, the major opponents of the regimes and the abuse that's visited upon them. (He also keeps score on the outrageous American apologists for Castro.) This is important stuff, and nobody covers it as well.

Other topics: golf (with much appreciation for Tiger Woods, which is probably the most dated thing in the book); classical music of all sorts; some personal anecdotes.

All in all, good stuff. I can't recommend you run out and plunk down the $24.95 cover price, but if NR offers it in exchange for renewing your subscription, go for it.