Reviews for Things That Matter : Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics


Kirkus Reviews 2013 October #1
Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Krauthammer collects 30 years of his work. The author is well-known for the pungency and forcefulness with which he expresses his political views, which have led some, like the Financial Times, to rate him "the most influential columnist in America." His starting point is the reaffirmation of his commitment to politics, "the crooked timber of our communal lives [which] dominates everything because, in the end, everything--high and low and, most especially, high--lives or dies by politics." Krauthammer's autobiography emerges in chapters organized around themes like "Follies," "Man and God," "The Jewish Question, Again" and "Three Essays on America and the World." Educated in medicine and psychiatry, the author came to Washington, D.C., to work for the Carter administration. He began to write for the New Republic and the Washington Post and found a new direction for his career. Presenting himself as a charming polymath, he writes on a variety of subjects, not just politics--e.g., a defense of the border collie as a working breed from the American Kennel Club, where it was admitted in 1994. Krauthammer draws on his scientific training to examine the arguments surrounding both creationism and global warming, and his interest in world championship chess and mathematics helps him ably convey the magic of the convergence of science and art in monumental expressions of man's political concerns and strivings. Among other topics, Krauthammer explores Washington's Holocaust Museum, New York's Hayden Planetarium ("it wraps an enormous cube around interior curves and spheres, just as science creates the lines that give order and solidity to the bending ephemera of nature"), NASA, Winston Churchill, the Transportation Security Administration, Woody Allen, ground zero and Social Security, which is not just "a Ponzi scheme," but "also the most vital, humane and fixable of all social programs." A sparkling collection that frames each of the particular contributions anew. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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