Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain, by Brian A. Catlos

I read this book, about the history of Spain under Muslim rule, hoping it would be less biased than Darío Fernández-Morera’s The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise, which I found to be too polemical in its criticism of Islamic domination. This book was closer to neutral, on the other side of neutral, but the author, Brian Catlos, has taken a fascinating period of history and made it boring. It’s not that the writing is bad, it’s that he takes a kitchen sink approach that loses the reader in minutiae, with so many dramatis personae that there is no drama. Still, Kingdoms of Faith is useful…

Review of ‘Whiteness: The Original Sin’

Whiteness: the Original Sin by Jim Goad. Obnoxious Books, 2018 The West Midlands Fire Brigade demands a score of 70 from white men, but only 60 from everyone else. English Heritage advertises jobs from which white people are explicitly banned from applying. The Government’s £90 million ‘Youth Fund’ will only be made available to young people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. And so on. In his blistering new book, Whiteness: the Original Sin, the American redneck provocateur and white working-class columnist for Taki Magazine, Jim Goad, shows how this is now part and parcel of an all-out war on…

How to Become Secretary of Education Without Really Doing Anything

How Schools Work:  An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education, by Arne Duncan Simon & Schuster, 256 pages, $26.99 According to the opening pages of Arne Duncan's memoir How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success, American education runs on lies. Described by his publishers as one of the "nation's longest-serving secretaries of education (2009-2015)," the country's former top education official has finally provided, in 2018, a piece of writing on education. It turns out to be a rambling and incoherent set of recollections of some of his experiences in his…

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