The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos (Hardcover)
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We’ve pursued and achieved the modern dream of defining ourselves—but at what cost? The New York Post op-ed editor makes a compelling case for seeking the inherited traditions and ideals that give our lives meaning.
“Ahmari’s tour de force makes tradition astonishingly vivid and relevant for the here and now.”—Rod Dreher, bestselling author of Live Not by Lies and The Benedict Option
As a young father and a self-proclaimed “radically assimilated immigrant,” opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari realized that when it comes to shaping his young son’s moral fiber, today’s America comes up short. For millennia, the world’s great ethical and religious traditions taught that true happiness lies in pursuing virtue and accepting limits. But now, unbound from these stubborn traditions, we are free to choose whichever way of life we think is most optimal—or, more often than not, merely the easiest. All that remains are the fickle desires that a wealthy, technologically advanced society is equipped to fulfill.
The result is a society riven by deep conflict and individual lives that, for all their apparent freedom, are marked by alienation and stark unhappiness.
In response to this crisis, Ahmari offers twelve questions for us to grapple with—twelve timeless, fundamental queries that challenge our modern certainties. Among them: Is God reasonable? What is freedom for? What do we owe our parents, our bodies, one another? Exploring each question through the life and ideas of great thinkers, from Saint Augustine to Howard Thurman and from Abraham Joshua Heschel to Andrea Dworkin, Ahmari invites us to examine the hidden assumptions that drive our behavior and, in so doing, to live more humanely in a world that has lost its way.
About the Author
Sohrab Ahmari is the op-ed editor of the New York Post, a columnist for First Things, and a contributing editor of the Catholic Herald. Previously, he served as a columnist and editor with the Wall Street Journal opinion pages in New York and London, and as senior writer at Commentary. In addition to those publications, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Spectator, Dissent, and America.
“Sohrab Ahmari offers more than a vivid and learned defense of traditionalism. With fatherly love, he leads his son—and us—on a fearless consideration of life’s big questions, taking thinkers of many historical times and circumstances as interlocutors. Along the way, he recovers truths about the nature and flourishing of the human person—truths seemingly in danger of being forgotten in our contentious and uncertain times.”—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“Ahmari’s tour de force makes tradition astonishingly vivid and relevant for the here and now. Only a writer with Ahmari’s intellect, his audacious commitment to faith and reason, and a journalist’s gift for storytelling could have pulled this off.”—Rod Dreher, bestselling author of Live Not by Lies and The Benedict Option
“A serious—and seriously readable—book about the deep questions that our shallow age has foolishly tried to dodge.”—Douglas Murray, bestselling author of The Madness of Crowds and The Strange Death of Europe
“As having a child instantly teaches us, it’s no longer about you. Ahmari uses his personal experience, but then broadens out to draw on wisdoms of all ages and faiths. He jars us out of our selfie-obsessed world with the clear message that commitment to faith, to others, and to humanity is actually the most liberating existence of all.”—Martha MacCallum, anchor of The Story on Fox News and author of Unknown Valor
“In this fascinating book, Sohrab Ahmari eloquently articulates what many American Founders understood and the French revolutionaries forgot: that faith is essential for freedom to truly flourish, and that we abandon the wisdom of the past at great peril to our future. Traditional Jews, Christians, and all who care about the future of the West are in his debt.”—Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, director, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Yeshiva University
“A unique and hopeful book that reminds us that the human person is made for great and beautiful things—far more than the vision of life offered by our society today.”—Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles
“Drawing on the deepest wells of ancient and modern wisdom from around the world, The Unbroken Thread weaves together essential lessons desperately needed to guide a new generation into an uncertain future.”—Patrick J. Deneen, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame, and author of Why Liberalism Failed
“Sohrab Ahmari has been thinking for himself since arriving from Iran as a youth. Paradoxically, he has thought himself back into the heart of our best traditions and has seen, with striking clarity, that the modern quest for total liberation of the intellect and will is both quixotic and damaging, individually and collectively. This clever and engaging work is the result; the dozen questions it asks are fresh, and the answers it gives are powerfully persuasive.”—Adrian Vermeule, Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School