This dazzling review of my book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa,” is a credit more to the mind (and moral clarity) of the reviewer than the book under review. In his New-American review, Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (more about him below), zeroes in with unusual perspicacity on the palpable tensions in the book, without losing sight of the effort as a whole. All in all, he thinks I cleared the hurdle:
Ilana Mercer’s, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, is an unusual book. Yet it is unusual in the best sense of the word.
At once autobiographical and political; philosophical, historical, and practical; controversial and commonsensical, Cannibal succeeds in weaving into a seamless whole a number of distinct modes of thought. This is no mean feat. In fact, its author richly deserves to be congratulated for scoring an achievement of the highest order, for in the hands of less adept thinkers, this ensemble of voices would have fast degenerated into a cacophony. By the grace of Mercer’s pen, in stark contrast, it is transformed into a symphony. …
… Burke had famously said that the only thing that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Though Mercer is not a man, sadly, she is in much greater supply of that “manly virtue” that Burke prized than are many — even most — male writers today. Burke unabashedly identified the wickedness of the French Revolutionaries for what it was. Similarly, Mercer courageously, indignantly, exposes the evil that is the African National Congress and its collaborators. In fact, her book may perhaps have been more aptly entitled, Reflections on the Revolution in South Africa. …
…It is tragic that Ilana Mercer was all but compelled to leave the country that for much of her life was her home. Yet South Africa’s loss is America’s gain. As her work makes obvious for all with eyes to see, the richness of Mercer’s intellect is as impressive as the soundness of her character.
THE COMPLETE REVIEW is at The New American.
“Jack Kerwick graduated with a BA in religious studies and philosophy from Wingate University in Wingate, NC in 1998. He received his MA in philosophy from Baylor University in Waco, Tx., the following year, and in 2007, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University. Kerwick specializes in ethics and political philosophy. His doctoral dissertation, ‘Toward a Conservative Liberalism,’ was a defense of the classical conservative tradition, a tradition of thought usually and widely perceived to have been fathered by Edmund Burke. Kerwick drew from Burke for inspiration, but also from David Hume and, perhaps most importantly, the twentieth century British philosopher Michael Oakeshott.” (Source: About.com)
Jack’s blogs is At the Intersection of Faith and Culture at Beliefnet.
Discovering Jack’s work (and friendship) has been a blessing. Unfortunately, Gulliver is surrounded by
UPDATE (March 2): AT LAST, AN ANALYTICAL REVIEW. After reading Dr. Kerwick’s review of Into the Cannibal’s Pot, which has since been published at “American Daily Herald: veritas, libertas, pax et prosperitas, as well as at “The Moral Liberal,” a new fan of Jack’s writing wrote this:
“Upon looking at some of your book’s other reviews, I couldn’t help but think that while some of what has been written is true, the forest was missed for the trees, so to speak.”
Indeed, most reviews of the book are contents-driven, strictly descriptive reviews of what is, flaws and all, essentially an analytical text. Odd that.
As Peter Brimelow noted in his exquisitely sensitive Foreword to “Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture,” “… Yet, somewhat to my surprise, it is actually quite rare for this most emotionally intense of columnists to draw on such personal experiences. What seems to motivate Ilana, ultimately, is ideas.”