Steyn, Mark. America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Regnery, 2006. 224 pp.
[cross-posted at Albion's Seedlings]
Mark Steyn requires little or no introduction to blogosphere readers of the center-right. His impact as a commentator over the last few years is outsized if for no other reason than volume — he creates a constant stream of articles, columns, essays, books, TV and radio appearances. It’s a rare month when one of his wittier quotes doesn’t create a flurry of blog linking. He brings his sense of humour to the subject of national security and the culture wars, and from what little I’ve seen of his “live” performances on radio and TV, it’s clear that he can think effectively on his feet. Most of us enjoy seeing the “moonbats” of modern life get their comeuppance. Mark Steyn has become a dependable and unapologetic source for such bon mots and stinging sarcasm from the Right. A guilty pleasure.
What really sets him apart, however, from more staid and plodding media pundits, is his willingness to confront the bromides of political correctness directly, and bring real literary skills to bear on summarizing current events. The result has been a stream of compact and compelling 500 word columns for newspapers around the world … leavened occasionally with erudite magazine articles and obituaries on figures from the art world. It wouldn’t be a stretch to place Mark Steyn alongside Victor David Hanson as one of the leading columnists of our time, making the case vigourously for the legitimacy, survival, and prosperity of Western civilization.
With American Alone, Steyn breaks out of the short form and assembles the facts from the early years of the 21st century into a “big picture” argument … about the state of the world and the circumstances of America. Does he translate well to the bigger canvas?