The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, March 17, 2014

THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics By Charles Krauthammer

Things That Matter by Charles KrauthammerPublisher:  Crown Forum
Pages:  400
Date Published:  October 22, 2013
Genre:  American History

Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  From America’s preeminent columnist, named by theFinancial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.
A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.
Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a pas­sionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matteralso features several of Krautham­mer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioeth­ics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have pro­foundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused re­flections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Win­ston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.
With a special, highly autobiographical in­troduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.

WC's Thoughts:  Charles Krauthammer, whether seen on Fox television and read in many columns of the Washington Post, possesses the maddening habit of enticing the viewer and reader into his insightful wisdom only to be eft waving for the coup de grace, the illuminating point that finally puts to rest the issue at hand. No less so in this baffling book dealing with three decades of passions, pastimes and politics, provocatively entitled, "Things That Matter."

Among Krauthammer's concerns are personal reminiscences of Churchill, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Obamas, and many others. God and Man is always fun, as are stem cell research, terrorism, the global conundrum, and the future of unipolar America. Damn, as hoped, Charles does not get around to finalizing the end of America as the world's greatest democratic republic, as constantly pondered and predicted by the two great founders, Jefferson and Franklin, both of whom would be stunned the country still exists and appalled at its development.

Charles is unique. He invites us in while overwhelming us with words and references that may or may not exist. Indeed, he delights in confusing us and making us scamper to look up words that flow freely from his mouth and pen. You can sense him smirking.

The reader can only continue this weighty tome if heavily informed. The guy or gal who can't come up with the three branches of government should retire with a romance novel. Nonetheless, Charles is always entertaining, and some parts are worthy of rereading and reflection. 

About the Author:  American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator, and physician. His column is syndicated to more than 400 newspapers and media outlets.