The Orient

“The China Convergence” (N. S. Lyons)

We Americans sense that we live in an empire of lies. We want to understand the people and systems which control our country and society. At a minimum, we want to know how and...

The Holy Fire: The Story of the Fathers of the Eastern Church (Robert Payne)

It’s Lent, so let’s spend a little time away from politics. The Holy Fire, first published in 1957, when Eastern Orthodoxy had zero presence in the religious consciousness of most of America, is a...

For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews against Romans, A.D. 66–74 (Guy MacLean Rogers)

Let’s talk about the Jews. No, not about how the Jews supposedly run the world (although there is some truth buried in that claim, to which we will return). I mean about the actual...

Breakfast with the Dirt Cult (Samuel Finlay)

In 1952, Ralph Ellison published, to great acclaim, his first and only novel, Invisible Man. The book narrated how Ellison’s protagonist, a black man, suffered social oppression. But that was long ago, and one...

A Gallop in Ethiopia: Wax, Gold & the Abyssinian Pony (Yves-Marie Stranger)

It has been a long time, a millennium and a half, since Ethiopia was a relevant player on the world stage. But I sometimes wonder if, as the present age grinds to its stupid...

The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam (Bat Ye’or)

For twenty years, our rulers have propagandized us with two contradictory claims. First, that the West is locked in an existential conflict with Islam, justifying any spending, any killing, and any erasure of our...

Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe)

Americans do not understand Australia. At all. If Australia is brought up, they think of a few movie and television stars. They think of a vast red desert, perhaps, with a big rock, what’s-its-name...

Long Shot: The Inside Story of the Kurdish Snipers Who Broke ISIS (Azad Cudi)

This book appears, to the casual reader, to be propaganda designed to persuade a Great Power, the United States, to aid the Kurdish fight for independence. Like all good wartime propaganda, it grabs the...

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire (Roger Crowley)

Without specific intention, I seem to have turned into a Roger Crowley fanboy, as shown by that I have now read every one of his books. Crowley is a British maritime historian, all of...

The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam (G. W. Bowersock)

When we think of Late Antiquity, we usually think of Rome, either its decline in the West or its continuation in the East. When we are feeling particularly adventurous, we may think of the...