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 From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.   A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight i  From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.   A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.   Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a pas­sionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matter also features several of Krautham­mer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioeth­ics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have pro­foundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused re­flections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Win­ston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.   With a special, highly autobiographical in­troduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.


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 From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.   A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight i  From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.   A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.   Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a pas­sionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matter also features several of Krautham­mer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioeth­ics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have pro­foundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused re­flections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Win­ston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.   With a special, highly autobiographical in­troduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I made Charles Krauthammer's "acquaintance" via FOX over the past few years and found that he has been the person I listen to most carefully on a variety of current political and cultural topics. Why? Because he actually analyzes events from all sides and looks at the evidence logically before coming to a conclusion and not in lockstep with every other commentator, and that I find so refreshing.Truly a thinking man, but not unfamiliar with life's challenges or without passions-love that chess an I made Charles Krauthammer's "acquaintance" via FOX over the past few years and found that he has been the person I listen to most carefully on a variety of current political and cultural topics. Why? Because he actually analyzes events from all sides and looks at the evidence logically before coming to a conclusion and not in lockstep with every other commentator, and that I find so refreshing.Truly a thinking man, but not unfamiliar with life's challenges or without passions-love that chess and baseball. Anyway when his book came out,I received it for a Christmas gift this year. I found myself reading just one more article and just one more article or essay and found I had finished it in little more than a day! All I can say is I learned and understood a lot more about a lot of things when I had completed the reading and thought-damn he is good!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I love this book! Krauthammer is brilliant, witty and, yes, at times sentimental (who knew? ;-). Of course, being a conservative politically I loved all of his political commentary - historical and current day equally. This book has so much more than that. A few of my non-political favorites were "Manners", "Of Dogs and Men" and "Don't Touch My Junk". I just finished adding all of my favorite quotes from this book to "my quotes"...I might as well have just typed out the entire book (and some of I love this book! Krauthammer is brilliant, witty and, yes, at times sentimental (who knew? ;-). Of course, being a conservative politically I loved all of his political commentary - historical and current day equally. This book has so much more than that. A few of my non-political favorites were "Manners", "Of Dogs and Men" and "Don't Touch My Junk". I just finished adding all of my favorite quotes from this book to "my quotes"...I might as well have just typed out the entire book (and some of the quotes are long enough to seem like a whole book). That says a lot about how much I enjoyed this book. Just because I can I'll share one I thought was funny: There's always an Oswald [a showoff know-it-all]. There's always the husband who takes his wife to Paris for Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day? The rest of us schlubs can barely remember to come home with a single long-stemmed rose. What does he think he's doing? And love is no defense. We don't care how much you love her--you don't do Paris. It's bad for the team.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is not really a review of such differing and numerous topics published here, but just some adjectives. Superb prose. Courageous intelligence. Dynamic, deep, loving devotion to what is important for human moderns. These coming from a doctor of the mind and the body who has followed his own fate during a lifetime moving on some nearly impossible personal and context paths. And with grace and total lack of vitriol in every sense, as well. Do not agree 100% with this man, but his wisdom is more This is not really a review of such differing and numerous topics published here, but just some adjectives. Superb prose. Courageous intelligence. Dynamic, deep, loving devotion to what is important for human moderns. These coming from a doctor of the mind and the body who has followed his own fate during a lifetime moving on some nearly impossible personal and context paths. And with grace and total lack of vitriol in every sense, as well. Do not agree 100% with this man, but his wisdom is more than considerable. Excellent evaluation of our present condition in the American experiment too, IMHO. Never screamed, not one extra drama expletive as some sort of "dogma", a perfect respectful manner of exchange. RIP, Charles. Great example to all, good job!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tim Gerdes

    I should begin by stating that I am not a Fox News viewer and I do not share Dr. Krauthammer's ideology. That said, I was given this book as a gift, I like to consider contrary viewpoints and I perceive myself as open-minded and persuadable to new ideas. I felt it fair to consider Dr. Krauthammer's opinions with as little prejudice as possible. To the good. Dr. Krauthammer is an excellent writer. He is articulate, concise and often funny. He writes movingly about space exploration, baseball, ches I should begin by stating that I am not a Fox News viewer and I do not share Dr. Krauthammer's ideology. That said, I was given this book as a gift, I like to consider contrary viewpoints and I perceive myself as open-minded and persuadable to new ideas. I felt it fair to consider Dr. Krauthammer's opinions with as little prejudice as possible. To the good. Dr. Krauthammer is an excellent writer. He is articulate, concise and often funny. He writes movingly about space exploration, baseball, chess and his love of dogs. While I'm sure all of these things matter greatly to the author—to varying degrees they matter to this reader as well—the less controversial writing is also less significant. In this way, Dr. Krauthammer is the sophisticate's Andy Rooney, less angry and entirely uncontroversial, but also mostly irrelevant. If there were a shorter volume, entitled "Things That Don't Really Matter," I may have awarded Dr. Krauthammer a second star for style. Unfortunately the book also contains a great deal of political writing. On social issues, Dr. Krauthammer often argues to a point he assumes is consensus, as if any rational person would agree. On same-sex marriage, he seems to think that in comparing it to polygamy, he has eliminated dissent. Similarly, in framing European models of euthanasia, and the possibility for healthy adults to engage in physician-assisted suicide, he is drawing a line regarding autonomy. I happen to disagree with his larger conclusions on both the dangers of polygamy and euthanasia, and find Dr. Krauthammer gauzy arguments favoring tradition totally unconvincing when defending an abridgment of individual rights. While none of his political criticisms bothered me very much, I found Dr. Krauthammer dismissively glib about the benefits of psychiatry—particularly distressing because it was once his chosen profession. A snide comment about Carl Sagan and repeated dismissals of Stephen Hawking's writings were all more aggravating than anything written about government. I suspect, in part, this is because I found his political arguments not just wrong, but decisively bad. His reasoning is often contradictory, and his memory selective. He complains, somewhat fairly I might add, about "Bush Derangement Syndrome," and liberal paranoia about Bush administration policies. There is some truth in this, but Dr. Krauthammer ignores the corollary "Obama Derangement Syndrome," the ugly right-wing accusations that the President of the United States is "the other." He has no prescription for the hysteria that Obama is a Kenyan anti-colonialist, a Marxist, a terrorist, a Chicago thug, and so on. In some cases Dr. Krauthammer adds to this corollary. Take for instance his criticism of Obamacare's individual mandate, which, at its base, is a Heritage Foundation policy. We've moved to the point where Bob Dole's health care plan from the 1996 election is more liberal than Obama's. Essentially our President is presented as a quasi-socialist, when his domestic policies, weighed objectively, are not dissimilar from those of the moderate Republican administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. This is where Dr. Krauthammer and his writing truly go off-the-rails for me. He is not opposed to social programs in theory. He seems to have some respect for the social democracies of Europe. And yet Dr. Krauthammer knows that that money spent on domestic programs will be taken from somewhere else. The most obvious candidate is in defense. After all, as he acknowledges, the United States defense budget is greater than the next nine nations, combined. And for a neo-conservative, nothing must distract from not only defense, but from our ability to project power. Dr. Krauthammer does not like the word neo-conservative though. His principle objection seems to be that its two greatest proponents were Tony Blair and George Bush. I'm not sure I follow the logic, exactly. A more likely reason Dr. Krauthammer prefers the term democratic realism is because of the disastrous foreign policy implications of neo-conservatism. As a witness to recent history, I find Dr. Krauthammer's insistence that we won, or were winning, Iraq before President Obama threw away our victory, baffling. In fact, the war was ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-executed from the start. We were not "greeted as liberators," and we created the vacuum in which today's chaos thrives. This should not have surprise Dr. Krauthammer though. In one of the book's earliest essays, "The Mirror-Image Fallacy," he argues, "it is only when values, ideologies, cultures and interests clash that politics even begins. At only the most trivial level can it be said that people want the same things." In one of the neo-conservative polemics that end the book, Dr. Krauthammer insists the world is Hobbesian. Liberals, he argues, want to fashion it into "a Lockean world, turning a jungle into a suburban subdivision, requiring revolution in human nature." I suppose this is a fair argument, but it is totally at odds with the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Decleration of Independence. Jefferson was a student of Locke. Whereas Hobbes believed human nature was fearful and hostile, Locke defined man's natural state as free and independent to the will of others. Our natural inalienable rights follow from Locke, not Hobbes. To dismiss them is to dismiss the American Experiment. This is something Dr. Krauthammer isn't prepared to do. He writes lovingly in the book of Washington, D.C. and its monuments—"dedicated to the power and glory of ideas." And this is the schizophrenia in Dr. Krauthammer's ideology. If the world is Hobbesian, if the strong are merely looking for an opportunity to subjugate the weak, if we cannot ignore cultural differences and incompatible ideologies, why then should our foreign policy agenda be a freedom agenda? Even more maddeningly, why should our freedom agenda, this Democratic Realism, be focused on the middle east, a place where, to Dr. Krauthammer, it matters? He asks, incredulously, " Where is it written that Arabs are incapable of democracy?" Well, for starters, it's written on page 97 of this book. There Dr. Krauthammer warns that we shouldn't "…gloss over contradictory interests, incompatible ideologies and opposing cultures as a source of conflict." Yet Arab states filled with poor, hyper-religious and politically repressed young men are not ideal candidates for democracy, especially if you accept Dr. Krauthammer's argument that the world is Hobbesian in its motivations. Similarly Dr. Krauthammer's dismissals of democratic internationalism ignore the possibility of Locke's ideology for anyone but the United States. We alone are unique in the world, and thus alone capable of wielding power justly. But how have we escaped the Hobbesian impulses? Why is internationalism impossible, yet freedom for the culturally, religiously orthodox Arab world a noble idea? We, a nation of mutts, immigrants, outsiders and castoffs, an amalgam of peoples and cultures—the closest thing the world has to a representative sample of human nature. If democracy can work her, surely there is something to Locke's theories of nature, but that would mean not only is democracy exportable, but that internationalism is feasible. In the end, Dr. Krauthammer's infuriating attempts to shoe-horn his foreign policy into a cohesive political ideology fall flat. I think I'd have preferred, in the end, a slimmer volume about chess and dogs and baseball.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    While I am not in complete agreement with all of his conservative opinions, I found this to be an excellent, thought-provoking book. The book is a collection of his newspaper and magazine columns, and speeches that he has given on many occasions. As the subtitle mentions, the essays cover thirty years of politics and history. Also, a few of the essays describe his own life. I've read some of his newspaper columns in the past, but I did not realize that he suffered a paralyzing accident while in While I am not in complete agreement with all of his conservative opinions, I found this to be an excellent, thought-provoking book. The book is a collection of his newspaper and magazine columns, and speeches that he has given on many occasions. As the subtitle mentions, the essays cover thirty years of politics and history. Also, a few of the essays describe his own life. I've read some of his newspaper columns in the past, but I did not realize that he suffered a paralyzing accident while in medical school. He did not let that stop his education, and went on to become a practicing psychiatrist! Krauthammer's writing style is excellent--it is easy to follow his train of thought, and he butresses all of his arguments with relevant facts. What is amazing about this book, is that it covers so many different topics. For example, he writes about the space program, Churchill, 9/11, Obama, terrorism, the Defense Department, liberal vs. conservative policies, Israel, Franklin Roosevelt, and the Washington Nationals baseball team. I didn't read this book--I listened to the audiobook version. It was a little bit disconcerting, in that the first half or so was read by the author, while the second half was read by George Newbern. The narration was OK, but the sudden transition jolted me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clara Roberts

    This book divided into sixteen chapters consisted of ninety essays or columns written by Krauthammer over thirty years. The most griping essay was Zion and the Fate of the Jew. K. goes back into history to 586 B.C. and discusses each of the efforts to destroy the Jewish civilization. No other group of people with the same language, religion, and culture has existed as long as the Jew. No other people have contributed so much to the good of the rest of the world. Still there is an effort to wipe This book divided into sixteen chapters consisted of ninety essays or columns written by Krauthammer over thirty years. The most griping essay was Zion and the Fate of the Jew. K. goes back into history to 586 B.C. and discusses each of the efforts to destroy the Jewish civilization. No other group of people with the same language, religion, and culture has existed as long as the Jew. No other people have contributed so much to the good of the rest of the world. Still there is an effort to wipe them off of the face of the earth. Prior to the Holocaust and WWII 80 percent of Jews lived in Europe with the rest scattered in the middle east and the USA. When WWII ended half of all Jew had been killed, even those who had assimilated and converted to Christianity. In 1970 eight percent of all Jews lived in the USA. Today the Jews are about equally divided between Israel and the USA with the migration to Israel. Soon almost all Jews will live in Israel. If they are wiped out there is fear that the civilization will be lost to history. Ever other time after a pogrom to make the world Judenrein the Jews have bounced back. If Iran is successful the Jews will be no more. It is significant that K. is a Jew.

  7. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Wray

    I don't care if you are a Liberal Democrat, or a Conservative Republican, or a Flying Purple People Eater. Or whatever title you may give yourself. We all must admit that Charles Krauthammer was one of the greatest political columnist of his generation. For over 30 years this Pulitzer Prize winning writer gave us insight on everything from Jimmy Carter, to Barack Obama. It's sad that cancer took him at only 68 years old. He will be deeply missed. I plan to read more of his books in the near futu I don't care if you are a Liberal Democrat, or a Conservative Republican, or a Flying Purple People Eater. Or whatever title you may give yourself. We all must admit that Charles Krauthammer was one of the greatest political columnist of his generation. For over 30 years this Pulitzer Prize winning writer gave us insight on everything from Jimmy Carter, to Barack Obama. It's sad that cancer took him at only 68 years old. He will be deeply missed. I plan to read more of his books in the near future... Godspeed Mr. Krauthammer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Brilliant analytical mind that makes complex issues easy to understand. This collection of editorial essays on a wide variety of subjects hones in on what does indeed truly matter. I can't imagine anyone but the intellectually dishonest taking much exception with his clear and concise arguments which are presented on a wide range of complex subjects. learned a good deal from this collection of editorials that I believe could change the hearts and minds of many for the betterment of our world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christian Dibblee

    It's tough to give full thoughts on this book since so many subjects are discussed and dissected. I am resigned to giving my general thoughts on his wider positions and the book's content. First, the writing is impeccable. I don't know a political columnist who writes with such force and accessibility as Krauthammer. He defends his position in very concise ways and shows his general intelligence with a broad vocabulary and intellectual basis. His personal stories are great, especially when he goe It's tough to give full thoughts on this book since so many subjects are discussed and dissected. I am resigned to giving my general thoughts on his wider positions and the book's content. First, the writing is impeccable. I don't know a political columnist who writes with such force and accessibility as Krauthammer. He defends his position in very concise ways and shows his general intelligence with a broad vocabulary and intellectual basis. His personal stories are great, especially when he goes in depth on baseball, dog breeding, and the death of his brother. Politically speaking, I very much like Krauthammer's approach. He places a high premium on what Congress can do (particularly with affirmative action) but also values intellectual honesty. I enjoyed his discussion on gay marriage, immigration, entitlements (the Ponzi scheme article specifically), and stem cell research. It's clear that his first love is foreign policy. I found his discussions on it very interesting. In the end, I generally did not agree with his neo-conservative approach or his Zionism, but he fairly accurately picks holes in the liberal internationalist model that is so in vogue right now. There's a lot to learn from Krauthammer. This book isn't necessarily "amazing" simply because it is so varied and concise in scope. Still, there are plenty of gems in here, and Krauthammer's results-driven approach in policy analysis is one that should be emulated. In addition, Krauthammer masters analogies and examples better than almost anone I've read, and he deserves serious praise.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Negin

    Charles Krauthammer is incredibly intelligent and articulate and I thoroughly enjoy his articles in “The Washington Post”, so I was eager to read this book. It’s a collection of his commentaries and essays. Reading this reminded me of another favorite of mine that I read almost two decades ago, “Think a Second Time” by Dennis Prager. Both are collections of articles that are brilliant and thought-provoking. The only reason that I’m giving it 4 stars rather than 5, is that some of the pieces are Charles Krauthammer is incredibly intelligent and articulate and I thoroughly enjoy his articles in “The Washington Post”, so I was eager to read this book. It’s a collection of his commentaries and essays. Reading this reminded me of another favorite of mine that I read almost two decades ago, “Think a Second Time” by Dennis Prager. Both are collections of articles that are brilliant and thought-provoking. The only reason that I’m giving it 4 stars rather than 5, is that some of the pieces are a bit dated. After all, this book is a compilation that was written over the course of three decades.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Urbane and civilized on the surface, callous and hypocritical underneath . . . Charles Krauthammer is a Conservative With Class! Krauthammer is the kind of guy who always wants to save civilization . . . as long as it's *his* civilization and not someone else's. He'll suck up to anyone to preserve his own comfortable status, no matter how high the price for those other people out there. His warm and loving tribute to Winston Churchill brought tears to my eyes. Somebody beat Hitler to his knees, b Urbane and civilized on the surface, callous and hypocritical underneath . . . Charles Krauthammer is a Conservative With Class! Krauthammer is the kind of guy who always wants to save civilization . . . as long as it's *his* civilization and not someone else's. He'll suck up to anyone to preserve his own comfortable status, no matter how high the price for those other people out there. His warm and loving tribute to Winston Churchill brought tears to my eyes. Somebody beat Hitler to his knees, but it couldn't have been the ghastly beastly Red Army, so . . . thank God for Churchill! Strangely enough, even when he's fawning on Churchill with an obsequious leer, Krauthammer has to turn a blind eye to certain things. For example, he tries to set up a phony comparison between horrible Hitler as "a purely 20th century man" and dear old Churchill as "the champion of the beloved civilized traditions of the past." This is at best only half true. Certainly Churchill was very well aware that in his hour of destiny he was standing where Good Queen Bess once stood, defying the barbarian hordes and their evil ideas, mocking the threatened invasion of his earth, his realm, his England. (There was a debt to Shakespeare as well.) The problem is, Krauthammer is acutely embarrassed by Hitler's links to the past. He's eager to see Churchill as a modern day Elizabeth, but comically squeamish about acknowledging the obvious link between the savage, suicidal fanaticism of Catholic Spain and Nazi Germany. It just wouldn't do to ask embarrassing questions! Didn't Hitler learn his anti-Semitism from the Catholic church? Didn't he invoke the myth of Shylock so brilliantly formulated by England's Shakespeare? And what about the King of Spain? Wasn't his Armada the forerunner of the Luftwaffe? Wasn't King Philip's vision of a Jew-free, heretic-free Europe an obvious source of inspiration for Hitler's New World Order? Are these questions really so dangerous in our modern, tolerant world? Who is Krauthammer really trying to protect, and why? And still more disturbing than that, how far will he go? Krauthammer can slurp on Churchill schlong like any seasoned Vegas hooker, and it's all very charming. Yet Charles Krauthammer can also be ruthless. This guy will throw whole races under the bus if they threaten his little brown-nosing racket. You haven't lived until you've heard a rich Canadian Jew defend the genocide of the Incas and Aztecs by Catholic Spain! To an untrained observer, some of those little Indian girls getting raped and skinned alive might look a lot like Anne Frank. It's okay, though. They weren't civilized! SPECIAL 2017 POSTSCRIPT: While I stand by my original review, I applaud Mr. Krauthammer for condemning Donald Trump as "a moral disgrace."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ru

    A superb collection of political columns written over a 30-year timespan by an idol of mine. The life and times of Dr. Charles Krauthammer is worth a book unto itself. Having moved to Montreal at the age of 5 and lived there until after his undergraduate studies at McGill University, he went on to Harvard Med. What happens next is heartbreaking; Dr. Krauthammer suffered permanent paralysis from a diving accident. Refusing to let the accident define him, he convinced the school to allow him to co A superb collection of political columns written over a 30-year timespan by an idol of mine. The life and times of Dr. Charles Krauthammer is worth a book unto itself. Having moved to Montreal at the age of 5 and lived there until after his undergraduate studies at McGill University, he went on to Harvard Med. What happens next is heartbreaking; Dr. Krauthammer suffered permanent paralysis from a diving accident. Refusing to let the accident define him, he convinced the school to allow him to continue his studies, and in fact went on to graduate and have an illustrious psychiatric career. It almost seems strange, then, that he would next find himself involved in politics, working as a speechwriter for Vice President Mondale, and becoming an esteeemed political commentator after that. Dr. Krauthammer's columns in this book reflect his change from Democrat to Republican, and why. As he jokes, "I was young once," he found that the Democrats claimed to want to help people who became worse and worse off. He further explains that the left hold a rigorous anti-Israel view. It is not surprising, then, for much of the modern takes in this collection to be an indictment of the current presidency. Dr. Krauthammer cites examples of governmental spending as being in a freefall (as in the case of the never-possible Affordable Healthcare Act), and in this age of terrorism, how political correctness masks real issues. The Ft. Hood Massacre is labeled "workplace violence" by Obama, and the arrest of an Islamic extremist after the 1993 World Trade Center attack is headlined with "New Jersey Man Charged". And, of course, after 5 Americans are killed in what is now known as a terrorist attack in Benghazi, the administration did all they could to claim it wasn't terrorists, but an uproar over a Youtube video by a mean American. In essence, Dr. Krauthammer demonstrates that the public are deceived and the mainstream media complicit in a poorly-orchestrated shell game. This book is not all politics; it's a welcome breath of fresh air to hear the doctor's thoughts on his beloved Washington Nationals and his love for the game of chess. He writes of these joys with adoration and you just know if he could have written more about them in this book (or another), he would have. Excellent, eye-opening works from Charles Krauthammer that would benefit any politics junkie regardless of their stripes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anita Pomerantz

    I just can't bring myself to give a compilation of columns, no matter how well chosen and organized, a five star rating, so we will have to settle for four stars, but that being said, the book is excellent. Of course there are a few caveats: - My review is totally biased because I love Krauthammer's writing and often agree with his views - Although he is a former Democrat, he is now clearly conservative, and since I lean that way on almost every non social issue, well my views are especially simpat I just can't bring myself to give a compilation of columns, no matter how well chosen and organized, a five star rating, so we will have to settle for four stars, but that being said, the book is excellent. Of course there are a few caveats: - My review is totally biased because I love Krauthammer's writing and often agree with his views - Although he is a former Democrat, he is now clearly conservative, and since I lean that way on almost every non social issue, well my views are especially simpatico. That being said, I think it is hard to find a columnist who can write as succinctly as Krauthammer while bringing very strong intellectual arguments to bear. If you are not conservative and want to test your belief system against one of the best, read this book. He may not change your mind, but you may find yourself running to Google to bolster your arguments. The book is divided into four sections: Personal, Political, Historical, and Global. He republishes "best of" columns from the eighties, nineties and recent past. The Political section is the most controversial. The Global section is the most dry, but also by far the most important. I think Krauthammer really has some important things to say about the role of the U.S. in today's world, and the various philosophies that impact our foreign policy. He is extremely thought provoking. His personal background makes him more interesting. He is a former Democrat who went to Harvard Medical School to study psychiatry. There, he became paralyzed in a diving accident in his first year, but he persisted and became a doctor. He was a gifted writer and ultimately left medicine to write. The guy is an intellectual giant. Even when I don't agree with him, I find it hard to refute his case. Sometimes I change my mind. I actually would love to read this book as a group read because there would be so much to discuss. All in all, I think this is very worthwhile reading no matter where you are on the political spectrum.

  14. 5 out of 5

    John

    I almost give this book three stars because it was often thought-provoking. But Krauthammer's utter contempt for "liberalism" often overshadowed his ideas. The final quarter of the book says the same thing in essay after excruciating essay. He also seems to fall in love with certain words of phrases. I know a guy whose every political argument includes the concept of liberals being "poo-flinging monkees." Krauthammer is no better, using the analogy of Gulliver being tied down way too often. Wors I almost give this book three stars because it was often thought-provoking. But Krauthammer's utter contempt for "liberalism" often overshadowed his ideas. The final quarter of the book says the same thing in essay after excruciating essay. He also seems to fall in love with certain words of phrases. I know a guy whose every political argument includes the concept of liberals being "poo-flinging monkees." Krauthammer is no better, using the analogy of Gulliver being tied down way too often. Worse, his work is filled with logical fallacies; he frequently begins arguments with phrases such as "anyone can see" or "nobody wants," as if factually proven. And on a more nitpicky point, in his introduction he claims to be declaring a war on commas, yet he sure uses plenty of them. Ultimately, I finished the book because I'm stubborn and because I cannot bring the other book I have started (Lolita) to a middle school for free reading, and maybe most of all because I believe there's some value in understanding the enemy. Suffice it to say, while he got me thinking in some of his essays, Krauthammer and I won't be hanging out at cocktail parties anytime soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Denny

    I was pleasantly surprised by Things That Matter. Being a left-leaning political moderate, I often disagree with most of what I read and hear coming from conservative pundits and thought leaders. But Krauthammer is an intellectual of a higher order than the loudest of his like-minded political thought leaders and is far more evenhanded in his tone than obnoxious bloviators like O'Reilly, Coulter, Savage, and Beck. Even though he assigns a lot of blame to liberals in general and to Barack Obama i I was pleasantly surprised by Things That Matter. Being a left-leaning political moderate, I often disagree with most of what I read and hear coming from conservative pundits and thought leaders. But Krauthammer is an intellectual of a higher order than the loudest of his like-minded political thought leaders and is far more evenhanded in his tone than obnoxious bloviators like O'Reilly, Coulter, Savage, and Beck. Even though he assigns a lot of blame to liberals in general and to Barack Obama in particular, his criticism lacks vitriol and needless meanness. Although I disagree with many of the points Krauthammer makes in this anthology, I was impressed by how effectively he makes his case and how eloquently he argues, and I found myself agreeing with him on a number of issues. George Newbern does a fine job of reading many of the essays, but I really enjoyed the parts read by Krauthammer himself. He has a great speaking voice, avuncular and warm. I'll definitely read more of his work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    wally

    5:56 pee em, the 17th of december, 2017, sunday evening, just finished, three stars, i liked it, good read. he eviscerates the obama presidency, among other things. one of the last two or three i read and others before that, too, places the blame for isis solely on bush's presidency and they all give obama a free ride out of the arena. the bystander presidency, the presidenty who abandoned iraq, is left blameless. you get tired of it after a time, the endless demagoguery of the political and med 5:56 pee em, the 17th of december, 2017, sunday evening, just finished, three stars, i liked it, good read. he eviscerates the obama presidency, among other things. one of the last two or three i read and others before that, too, places the blame for isis solely on bush's presidency and they all give obama a free ride out of the arena. the bystander presidency, the presidenty who abandoned iraq, is left blameless. you get tired of it after a time, the endless demagoguery of the political and media elite, the endless blame america...endless. i'd like to take a 2x4 and plant it between their eyes. and. it will come to that, eventually, if they have their way. too...did highlight one note in this one, from an essay, column, what you will, from...1990...an essay...not a column...there are a few longer essays included herein..."the unipolar moment" 1990: it is not much of a nation-state. iraq, for example, is a state of recent vintage with arbitrary borders whose ruling party explicitly denies that iraq is a nation. (it refers to iraq and syria as regions, part of the larger arab nation for which it reserves the term.) see...that other read, i forget which one, one or two back...some asshat egghead liberal fock...blaming, playing the blame game...a mindless fock whose disregard for the 2nd amendment is couched with his blame for bush for isis...and his complete lack of blame for obama. hence, a mindless fock. anyway...there be a multitude of reasons for isis...and this blurb from krauthammer's essay highlights one of them. the mindset was there already, to say nothing of the schisms within the religion of islam itself. but when some mindless fock is pushing ideology...the reason i gave up on that mindless fock's last read that i put down, dark money.... anyway, good read, intelligent, thought-provoking...but he loses it...completely, when he says communism is finished. there's red china over across the way, that he ignores conveniently...and too, since these cover such a range of time, 30 years, they're interesting reading for that reason. i don't believe i've read him much in newspapers, if any. heard him a time or two on fox news...that that shithead who used to occupy the white house disparaged. "uncle joe"...or whatever the hell that asshole said. and got a free focking pass. trump has said something like that shithead obama, the media wouldda been all over that. so shove all that shietz up your liberal progressive ass if it applies.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    A collection of interesting and often thought-provoking, previously-published columns (including several longform) on a myriad of topics—from "Accents and Affectations" to "Zionism and the Fate of the Jews"—and all thoughtfully and intelligently written (and peppered with dry humor). To the extent that you agree with Krauthammer's opinions (as columns are), you will enjoy this book. By and large, I did.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler Wallace

    It would be a good idea to have a dictionary handy while reading Dr. Krauthammer’s collection of insightful observations, “Things that Matter.” The erudite author is clearly dedicated to plain speak but occasionally, like a body tic, he throws in a word that makes me fumble for Webster’s definitions. Sometimes even that doesn’t help. I’m okay with that because I feel so much more intelligent after I read his material. I even understand and applaud most of it. I know. I’m showing my conservative u It would be a good idea to have a dictionary handy while reading Dr. Krauthammer’s collection of insightful observations, “Things that Matter.” The erudite author is clearly dedicated to plain speak but occasionally, like a body tic, he throws in a word that makes me fumble for Webster’s definitions. Sometimes even that doesn’t help. I’m okay with that because I feel so much more intelligent after I read his material. I even understand and applaud most of it. I know. I’m showing my conservative underwear. But if you really concentrate on his ideas about civility, political foolishness, scientific and medical wonders, man and God, the Jewish question, terrorism, and life’s oddities, you will find much with which to agree. Along with his common-sense look at all things we encounter, he displays a jovial sense of humor and an appreciation of nonsensical happenings that enlivens his writing. He writes in defense of the F-word. He makes fun of the American tendency towards arrogance. He embraces the joy of losing with his devotion to the Washington Nationals. He considers it a slow news day when the naming of the President’s dog is the leading topic of media conversation. So, you see, he is not all egg headed and solemn. There’s twisted and whacky material in that splendid brain. Dr. Krauthammer is a magnificent thinker and writer. It’s one thing to have a mind that can comprehend a myriad of complex issues and quite another to be able to explain them to a normal person. Many geniuses of the world labor in obscurity because of this shortcoming. Not so with this wise man and gifted communicator. Charles Krauthammer doesn’t have to go away when you close the book. He writes a weekly column for a Washington D.C. newspaper that should be a must read if you are a fan. He’s also a frequent contributor to a major TV network. He has to be considered a national treasure regardless of your personal political leanings and this book is a tribute to his clearheaded thinking. Read it as soon as possible.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    Words I'd use to describe Charles Krauthammer after reading this collection of dozens of his essays: Eloquent Entertainingly pompous A likable know-it-all Sometimes angry A masterful wordsmith Possessing a concrete sense of right and wrong Perceptive Unafraid Nuanced Highly intelligent Krauthammer is absolutely a beautiful writer, but if you do not have his precise, very high education, many of his arguments and use of foreign-language words are inaccessible. I strive to have this man's command of the la Words I'd use to describe Charles Krauthammer after reading this collection of dozens of his essays: Eloquent Entertainingly pompous A likable know-it-all Sometimes angry A masterful wordsmith Possessing a concrete sense of right and wrong Perceptive Unafraid Nuanced Highly intelligent Krauthammer is absolutely a beautiful writer, but if you do not have his precise, very high education, many of his arguments and use of foreign-language words are inaccessible. I strive to have this man's command of the language. Bottom line: Despite Krauthammer's sometimes-impenetrable thicket of political arguments, this was quite an enjoyable read. My favorite chapters were the ones where the Hammer discussed his personal life--how he became paralyzed, his family, his friends, etc. Five stars, for sure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tony Taylor

    This is a collectiosn of Charles Krauthammer's weekly columns and articles he has written over the many years as a political columnist. Many of his articles are interesting as well as well as enlightening; all of them are short and easy to read. This is one of those books that one picks up and reads a donzen pages or so in between other readings. Actually I found the introduction as interesting and informative as many of his articles. Krauthammer writes of his interesting background having once This is a collectiosn of Charles Krauthammer's weekly columns and articles he has written over the many years as a political columnist. Many of his articles are interesting as well as well as enlightening; all of them are short and easy to read. This is one of those books that one picks up and reads a donzen pages or so in between other readings. Actually I found the introduction as interesting and informative as many of his articles. Krauthammer writes of his interesting background having once been a doctor of psychiatry (Harvard) and later active in the Democratic party as a young politician before having seen the light and become a staunch conservative writer and contributor to Fox News.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter Schmeltzer

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection of exceptional critical thinking essays.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    I remember seeing the author on various news programs, but still didn't know much about him. This is the first of anything written by him I've ever read. Remarkable and simply amazing! The book is a collection of his many articles written over his tenure at the Washington Post. Clearly sectioned out in to four categories, the book holds true its title. I highly suggest making this your next read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    Some framework - I'm an independent; libertarian with regard to social issues, conservative with regard to fiscal issues, but unlike most conservatives, I recognize the importance of the revenue side and the need for those of us more blessed to carry a bigger share of the load. I read a lot on political and economic issues and find most of the right wing material to be inaccurate, slanted, disrespectful and hateful so it gets few brownie points with me. This book, from a noted conservative, is a Some framework - I'm an independent; libertarian with regard to social issues, conservative with regard to fiscal issues, but unlike most conservatives, I recognize the importance of the revenue side and the need for those of us more blessed to carry a bigger share of the load. I read a lot on political and economic issues and find most of the right wing material to be inaccurate, slanted, disrespectful and hateful so it gets few brownie points with me. This book, from a noted conservative, is a breath of fresh air - balanced, intelligent, thought provoking and erudite. I only found one example of the use of a right wing canard - the accusation that Obama is destroying Clinton's "welfare to work" program by granting 4 states exemptions from certain requirements of the act. What he and the other right wingers always seem to forget to mention is that the exemptions actually make the requirements more strict in those states and that the first one to step up and request an exemption was Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. That item aside and it is a very small one in the context of the total book, this is a great read. I was especially impressed with his knowledge of foreign affairs, especially the middle east. I wish all such books could be as informative and respectful as this one. (Oh, yeah, Charles, I also drove hundreds of miles to watch a chess match so maybe that is not as weird as you think!)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Before this book I was only familiar with Krauthammer from his sporadic appearances on the Sunday morning talk show circuit; and in those particular settings he often struck me as overly pretentious and angry. I was wrong about him. Having completed this collection of columns and essays I was struck with the consistency in his philosophic worldview, which I admire. He is thoughtful, humane, and religious. He is a practicing Jew, and it seems to be his Western, Jewishness that forms his ethics an Before this book I was only familiar with Krauthammer from his sporadic appearances on the Sunday morning talk show circuit; and in those particular settings he often struck me as overly pretentious and angry. I was wrong about him. Having completed this collection of columns and essays I was struck with the consistency in his philosophic worldview, which I admire. He is thoughtful, humane, and religious. He is a practicing Jew, and it seems to be his Western, Jewishness that forms his ethics and concern for the Western world. Consequently, I found his pro-Isreal stance very interesting and, dare I say, enlightening. I have adopted his concern for the future of Israel and look forward to studying the issue further. For all the political depth found in this book, perhaps my favorite essays concerned the personal, as chess, baseball, border collies, and music are all discussed at intriguing length. As is his horrific accident that has left him confined to a wheelchair for most of his life. His life is a life well lived and this book is a book well written.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tom Stamper

    Recycled collections rarely make great reading, but Charles Krauthammer has done a good job digging into the archives to find pieces that are still pertinent. Although Krauthammer began his career in Washington working for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, his foreign policy items dating back to the early 80s show a pretty consistent vision of the world. You could say that he was a cold warrior on the Left that moved Right when the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democrat party folded its tent. Probabl Recycled collections rarely make great reading, but Charles Krauthammer has done a good job digging into the archives to find pieces that are still pertinent. Although Krauthammer began his career in Washington working for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, his foreign policy items dating back to the early 80s show a pretty consistent vision of the world. You could say that he was a cold warrior on the Left that moved Right when the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democrat party folded its tent. Probably the most significant piece in this collection is his Time Magazine essay explaining the post-cold war power reality. While the majority of pundits argued that America was soon to face new rivals, Krauthammer correctly predicted that American hegemony would last for several decades. In later essays he builds on the theme and explains that the world is better for it. If you want to understand the intellectual argument for an active U.S. involvement in foreign policy this is good start.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Keenan Johnston

    I was hoping this book would be more on the man, that his works. This is basically a collection of some of his best Washington Post essays. 30% are really interesting, 30% I didn't care about at all, and the rest were somewhere in the middle. I have a lot of respect for Charles Krauthammer as an independent thinker so reading his pieces are were stimulating. I enjoyed the way he infuses humor into his pieces, and came away with several new words to use due to his incredible lexicon. His pieces ra I was hoping this book would be more on the man, that his works. This is basically a collection of some of his best Washington Post essays. 30% are really interesting, 30% I didn't care about at all, and the rest were somewhere in the middle. I have a lot of respect for Charles Krauthammer as an independent thinker so reading his pieces are were stimulating. I enjoyed the way he infuses humor into his pieces, and came away with several new words to use due to his incredible lexicon. His pieces range from baseball, chess and Borat to foreign policy, Jewish history, 9/11 and Social Security so it was interesting to read his essays with the benefit of history on my side. It's an easy book to read, but would have recommended it much more if there was more on being paralyzed and how he transformed from a liberal to conservative

  27. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Krauthammer's best seller is a compilation of many of his articles over the past 30+ years. I enjoy reading his regular Washington Post columns every week. I was unaware that he started out as a Democrat and once worked for Jimmy Carter's presidency. Of course now he is one of the conservative pundits that skewers liberals on a regular basis. He says he left the Democrats when it came to domestic policy when he saw how liberal programs failed time and time again to achieve the promised results. Krauthammer's best seller is a compilation of many of his articles over the past 30+ years. I enjoy reading his regular Washington Post columns every week. I was unaware that he started out as a Democrat and once worked for Jimmy Carter's presidency. Of course now he is one of the conservative pundits that skewers liberals on a regular basis. He says he left the Democrats when it came to domestic policy when he saw how liberal programs failed time and time again to achieve the promised results. He says on foreign policy it was the Democrats who left him. Once there were Democrats who were strong advocates of national defense, but no more. Krauthammer usually supports the conservative point, but on a few issues, he still reveals his liberal roots. He is a proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens and he thinks women should be forced to have their babies in hospitals.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5. I was surprised to discover that I am not as ideologically aligned with Krauthammer as I thought (though I haven't touched Fox News with a 10 foot pole in years so I'm not sure what I'm basing that on). But that Krauthammer is wicked smart is undeniable. I would absolutely go hear him speak live if ever given the chance. And though I'd say I disagreed with about 60% of the arguments he posited, man I wish more minds like his weren't just analyzing our government, but leading it. Also I had 3.5. I was surprised to discover that I am not as ideologically aligned with Krauthammer as I thought (though I haven't touched Fox News with a 10 foot pole in years so I'm not sure what I'm basing that on). But that Krauthammer is wicked smart is undeniable. I would absolutely go hear him speak live if ever given the chance. And though I'd say I disagreed with about 60% of the arguments he posited, man I wish more minds like his weren't just analyzing our government, but leading it. Also I had no idea he was in medical school when he became paralyzed. His account of his professor giving him the lectures in the hospital room was something else. I don't always agree with Krauthammer, but wow I admire him, largely because we need more people like him who really care about things that matter.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Although I am as far to the left as Krauthammer is to the right on most things, I always enjoy his erudite and well-considered views. I checked this book out thinking it was his autobiography, but it is instead a collection of essays, both personal and political, from his 30 years as a columnist. Reading him is food for thought from a different table, and some of the selections are quite tasty. I appreciated the introduction and personal essays the most, but what truly spoke to me on an intimate Although I am as far to the left as Krauthammer is to the right on most things, I always enjoy his erudite and well-considered views. I checked this book out thinking it was his autobiography, but it is instead a collection of essays, both personal and political, from his 30 years as a columnist. Reading him is food for thought from a different table, and some of the selections are quite tasty. I appreciated the introduction and personal essays the most, but what truly spoke to me on an intimate level were the selections on being a Jew and his passionate love of and defense of Israel. On this subject, Charles and I are as one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Mr. Krauthammer speaks prose. He is currently a regular in the cable world and his comments require ( at least for me) some time to digest and/or ripen. Thats not an easy task in the fast paced media news format. I prefer reading Mr. Krauthammer. This is a collection of what he feels are important thoughts he's shared in his columns over the years. Indeed they are. They are enlightening and always entertaining.

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