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 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 Oswalda showoff know it allThere 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. From America S Preeminent Columnist Charles Krauthammer, Named By Financial Times The Most Influential Commentator In America, Comes The Long Awaited Collection Of His Essential, Timeless Writings Things That Matter Presents His Penetrating And Surprising Reflections On Everything From Embryo Research To Entitlement Reform, From Halley S Comet To Border Collies, From Christopher Columbus To Martin Luther King, From Drone Warfare To American Decline A National Thought Leader Known For His Uncompromising Honesty, Krauthammer Has For Decades Dazzled Readers With His Keen Insight Into Politics And Government Now, Finally, The Best Of Krauthammer S Intelligence, Erudition And Wit Are Collected In This One Volume With A Special, Highly Autobiographical Introduction In Which Krauthammer Reflects On The Events That Shaped His Career And Political Philosophy, This Personal Chronicle Of American Life Is A Unique Publishing Event, Years In The Making 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 democracyWell, 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. 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 It is significant that K is a Jew. 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. 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 of his books in the near future Godspeed Mr Krauthammer. 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. 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.