Lengthened Shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-First Century

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9781594030543: Lengthened Shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-First Century
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In a series of penetrating reflections on the United States and its institutions in the post-9/11 world, this book offers some answers to questions that people at home and abroad have begun to ask about our country. How did it attain its international preeminence? What exactly is this richest, most powerful of countries made of? Where will its unmatched influence lead? Military historian Frederick Kagan discusses the future of our armed forces and the challenges they will face in defending America's unique position. David B. Hart shows how religion, with all its variety and occasional excess, is "alive and striving in America, with the power to shelter many virtues under its promises of supernatural grace." From the future of the law to the future of higher education, from music to the visual arts, Lengthened Shadows provides a unique situation report on American culture today. Writers and thinkers such as Robert Bork, Hilton Kramer, Roger Kimball and Mark Steyn offer a probing assessment of the institutions that organize our lives--their health, their influence and their prospects--at the beginning of what some commentators are calling "the next American century."

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About the Author:

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion. Hilton Kramer is editor and publisher of the New Criterion and an art critic for the New York Observer.

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Fans of the New Criterion, the Harper's for cultural elites bending right, will likely recognize most of the contributors to this anthology, which, like its parent publication, prefers to fortify its criticism with a healthy (if not liberal) dose of eulogy. As such, this selection combines politically self-conscious praise for American high modernism in architecture, poetry, and war with mournful longing for the very nearly departed in American society. Some are more indignant than others. Coeditor Kimball's "Institutionalizing Our Demise," a Samuel Huntington-esque^B appeal to reverse the centrifugal forces of multiculturalism, spits more bile than Jay Nordlinger's assessment of the state of classical music, which suffers primarily from a glut of enthusiastic, qualified performers. Robert Bork's piece on recent Supreme Court jurisprudence, likewise committed to provocative gloominess, will resonate with strict constructionists and social conservatives. It preaches to the choir at times, but alongside all its exhortations and laments shine some thought-provoking insights, such as theologian David B. Hart's intuitive musings on the unique ecstasies of American religion, perhaps this selection's best essay. Brendan Driscoll
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