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America Alone by Mark Steyn

- Abstract

Mark Steyn is phenomenal—no other word will quite do. Sometimes it seems that you can pick up almost any English-language newspaper and find either one of his regular columns or a disobliging comment about him by someone else. Though he describes himself as something of a recluse, at home in the backwoods of New Hampshire, he writes with knowledge and insight about American and international politics, about social trends, about movies and theater and popular culture, and about much else besides. It is hard to say which is the more impressive, his range or his journalistic energy.

What makes the performance all the more unusual is that Steyn is a political conservative, with a strongly held belief in as much individual freedom as possible and a foreign policy that defends this freedom. Moreover, far from being defensive about what almost everyone else in today’s journalistic pack would consider repeated lapses of intellect and manners, he revels in them. “Redneck,” “fascist,” “Islamophobe,” “neocon warmonger” are among the derogatory labels he happily hangs around his own neck, to save his critics the time and effort. Emotionally, he is a cheerful pessimist—a hybrid often found among conservatives. Four-hundred years ago, the English writer Nicholas Breton earned immortality by coining the phrase, “A Mad World, My Masters.” Steyn sees things that way, too.

About the Author

David Pryce-Jones, the British novelist and political analyst, is the author of, among other books, Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews (Encounter).