The Point of it All - A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Jerrold Mcmenamin

Review by Matt Winesett, National Review (2018)

Winesett makes a broad statement that The point of It All presents Krauthammer’s conservative argument for liberal democracy. The author focuses on the longest essay in the book, “The Authoritarian Temptation,” which according to him serves as a capstone of a lifetime reflection. To him, this essay is Krauthammer’s warning to the future. While the essay is characteristically concise, it embodies most of the themes that animated most of Krauthammer’s past columns, particularly the growing attraction to strongman rule. The essay, nevertheless, is not a lament; rather, it is a reminder of liberal democracy and a call to the arms to defend this unique treasure. The author also talks about the principle of humility. Krauthammer applies this principle all through his writings lightly, easily, and profoundly as well. Because of his humility, he was able to bridge the gap between his political conservatism and the liberal thinkers who inspired him. The author also talks about Krauthammer’s acknowledgment of the greatness of the United States. Since the United States is the last indispensable nation in the globe, greatness is its only honest choice. The author concludes the review with a mention of Krauthammer’s disability. Because of this disability, there was nothing common about Krauthammer’s greatness, but he continues to push the world in a better world (Winesett para. 1-7).

I agree with the different points highlighted in this review. Democracy, humility and veneration of greatness permeate in virtually every chapter of The Point of It All – not only in Krauthammer’s writings about the great acts of America and histories of Great Men but also in the writings of his daily displays. Even though liberal democracy has its weaknesses, Krauthammer advocates for it in numerous columns in the book.

Review by Francis P. Sempa, New York Journal of Books (2018)

Sempa starts by providing a brief history on Charles Krauthammer and his career from psychiatry to a political commentator. He also talks about the crippling injury, which confined the political author into a wheelchair (Sempa para. 4). Nonetheless, he affirms Krauthammer’s wonderful life by quoting him saying that he lived “a wonderful life—full and complete with great loves and endeavors that make it worth living” (Sempa para. 5). In addition, Sempa thinks that Krauthammer combined graceful writing, compelling logic, brilliant argument, and well-reasoned and thought-provoking analysis.

The writer also notes the discussion held by Krauthammer about Ronald Reagan as the greatest president of the second half of the 20th century for winning the Cold War by utilizing courage and conviction (Sempa para. 8). Apart from that, Sempa identifies other individuals mentioned in the book such as Pope John Paul II and George W. Bush. He also notes the criticism attributed to Obama and relates it to the conservative nature of Krauthammer. Additionally, Sempa acknowledges the attention given to Trump, science, religious practices, and sports among other topics expounded in the book.

 I agree with this review considering its comprehensive nature and the extensive knowledge portrayed by the writer. It is clear that Sempa identifies well with Krauthammer, and he appreciates the author’s work significantly. His review is thoughtful and it incorporates numerous direct quotes from the book. One can easily conclude that the writer has thoroughly read the book making the review authentic and reliable. Apart from that, the writer notes various topics covered by Krauthammer, and to most of them, he provides a short description of the knowledge he gained while reading the book. In addition, the history he provides regarding Krauthammer’s life is directly sourced from the book since some of the information had been unknown to readers before the publication. This is because Krauthammer never liked talking about himself. Therefore, Sempa’s review is true and dependable, and readers can find the vital motivation they need to read the entire book.

Review by Robert Yokohama, Goodreads (2018)

In his review, Yokoyama begins by noting the US-Australia military alliance of since 1914. Specifically, he talks about Krauthammer’s notable love for Australia considering that he married an Australian (Yokoyama para. 1). Apart from that, the writer draws a similarity he shares with Krauthammer, being on a wheelchair. Here, Yokoyama notes that Krauthammer believed that not every place could be wheelchair accessible, a limitation that never stopped him from enjoying life (Yokoyama para. 1). In addition, the author finds motivation from Krauthammer about the Kennedy Center since he aims at visiting the location after covering the book.

Further, Yokoyama points out the Jim Dickson story as covered in the book. He says that Dickson is the blind man who attempted to sail across the Atlantic Ocean but managed up to Bermuda (Yokoyama para. 1). The author claims that despite coming short on his goal, Dickson enjoyed the sail since he was able to experience sailing using his other senses. Besides, Yokoyama identifies Four Essays on Liberty by the British philosopher named Isiah Berlin as a book loved by Krauthammer, and a source of his motivation to learn from many sources and experiences. From there, the author differentiates foxes from hedgehogs saying that foxes are the people who learn from different sources while hedgehogs learn from a primary source (Yokoyama para. 2). Lastly, Yokoyama shares his opinion on the character of Krauthammer saying that he believed in self-reflection and looking outwardly in the world to be successful.

I agree with Yokoyama’s review since it discusses specific points that interested the writer. In addition, Yokoyama uses references from the book to create his review. He talks about real issues covered by Krauthammer such as the Kennedy Center and the Jim Dickson encounter. Therefore, despite using a few points in his review, Yokoyama’s work is reliable. It indicates a writer who has read the book and identified the areas that motivate him to do different things such as trying new things in life.

Review by Dave, Goodreads (2018)

Dave thinks that Krauthammer is a singularly brilliant voice in American discourse (Para. 1). He mentions Krauthammer’s death but sees the book The Point of It All as a gift left by the author to the world. In addition, Dave thinks that Krauthammer’s work uses reason, logic, and humor to speak to the people, a significant difference when compared to other political authors of today. Apart from that, the author establishes a periodic range of the articles found in the book saying that they date back to the 1980s up to 2017, and they contain different world events such as the fall of the Soviet Empire (Dave para. 1). Additionally, the author provides other topics covered in the book such as chess, baseball, affirmative action and the majesty of the constitution among others. Lastly, he affirms that the book is easy to read, thought-provoking pieces, well put together and well organized (Dave para. 1).

Despite providing a short overview of Krauthammer’s book, Dave’s review is appraisable and I agree with him. His piece is a general review of the whole book and it provides the reader with a general idea of the things to find in the book. Apart from that, Dave praises Krauthammer’s work and his writing skills, an enticing strategy to motivate readers to read the book. Again, the writer provides some of the topics covered in the book, and this shows that he has an idea of the things covered by the author. Besides, he motivates the readers by saying that the book is an easy read and it is thought-provoking. Therefore, it is easy for readers to make a conscious decision into reading Krauthammer’s work after reading Dave’s review.

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