January 6, 2013

A Review of Blessed Are the Contrarians: Diary of a Journey Through Interesting Times

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~


Yesterday finished reading Rob's Blessed Are theContrarians: Diary of a Journey Through Interesting Times. It's a worthwhile read, and a great reminder of ideas we often neglect in our busy lives. It's good to take some time to review events and ideas, especially with Rob's perspective of a Conservative and Christian. Fewer thinkers like him, especially in secularist Europe, are offering any alternative view of politics, religion, Christianity, literature, and philosophy. What he offers here, all in one place, is something different from the zeitgeist, the meme of the times. His title is apt.  

Being American, we don't get any news from Europe, let alone detailed history and analysis of what's happening there; especially Italy. That section of this book helps get a handle, as much as possible anyway, of how Italy manages to offer so many fine things, even be productive, with such a dysfunctional government. It also helps get a handle on European politics and how the political class there is consolidating power and the conflicts that arise from that.

I've been reading "The Windrose Hotel" for a few years (and am honored beyond words that I can contribute). What drew me to it initially was Rob's sense and sensibility, understanding of, explanation and explication of Augustine. Augustine has always been a tough slog for me, but Rob had, and has, a way of explaining Augustine's ideas that settles well. By the end of reading "Contrarians" I was on Amazon looking at Kindle downloads of Augustine's works. It's a good thing to have those writings all combined in this book; provides a clearer understanding.

There's a lot of coverage of art, something that is totally neglected in this country. Rob provides discussions of great artists, and why they're great, from both art history and personal perspectives. Art here in the US, and art writing, is dreadful.  It's great to have Rob's observations without the snobbishness prevalent here, just the critical eye and heartfelt appreciation.

The last of the book is about our Faith, Christianity. I was both moved and stimulated, and was making notes to myself of things to pursue, teach and write about. 


It's all here, ideas and reality, news and views, art and history, philosophy and perception, politics and religion. Sad that correct thinking is now contrary, but good that Rob's blog and this book makes the contrary accessible and understandable. 



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4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Steven, great review! I'm very glad you enjoyed the book!

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  2. Dear Metaphysical Peregrine, Happy New Year!
    I heartily agree with you regarding 'Blessed are the Contrarians' and with you, wish Rob much success with it.

    I cannot agree with you however regarding Art being dreadful in the USA. When you have giants such as Whistler, and Tanner who were leaders in their own right, US art can't possibly be dreadful. This without considering perhaps the world's finest painters and illustrators of their time such as Maxfield Parrish, then Andrew Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, etc., who still have considerable, world wide influence.

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  3. As long as they both avoid smugness, art and faith can infuse each other.

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  4. Very nice review of Steven, I think we can get much knowledge from this.

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