April 23, 2002

Derbyshire on Dinesh D'Souza

John Derbyshire's near-rave review for Dinesh D'Souza's new 9-11 book What's So Great About America seems pretty much on the money: "I therefore stand in awe of him for having done so brilliantly well what I do not think I could have done." Unfortunately, Derb's caveat is accurate as well:

"... this book does not contain any striking or original insights. Most of what the author has to say will be familiar to anyone who reads conservative magazines or visits websites like this one. What's So Great is not pioneering political science: It is pop-political science. That's OK. There is hardly any work a writer can more usefully engage in than to bring to a large, general audience ideas that have been worked over and polished smooth by small cliques of interested parties."

Still, as talented as Dinesh is at this, I think he's got more in him than that. His is one of the most lucid voices in the Conservative Echo Chamber, but, especially since 9-11, it's getting awfully crowded in there, with countless guys creating blogs to tell you - for free! - why America is better than, say, Iraq. Dinesh has reached a point in his life - pushing 40, a husband, a father - where he's seen enough of the world to take a deep breath and write that Big Book that would stake out some new perspective beyond the Echo Chamber.

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