Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture

Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture

What do you do when an entire civilization is crumbling around you? You do everything. This is a book about how to get started.

Providence College professor Anthony Esolen, blunt and prophetic, makes the case that the decay of Western civilization is alarmingly advanced.

Our sickly, sub-pagan state resembles a bombed-out city. We have to assess the damage, but merely lamenting it does no good. There is work to be done. The first step is the restoration of truth. America's most powerful institutions - including the government - are mass producers of deceit. We have to recognize the lies and clear our minds of cant.

Our culture produces only the drab or the garish. We must restore beauty in art, architecture, music, and worship. There are two things wrong with our schools everything our children don't learn in them, and everything they do learn. Public schools are beyond reform; we have to start over. Our universities are as bad as our schools. A few can be saved, but for the most part, we must build new ones. In fact, this is already being done. We have to support these efforts as if our children's souls depended on it.
Repudiating the Sexual Revolution, that prodigious engine of misery, requires more than zipping up. The modern world has made itself ignorant about sex in particular that there are two of them and they're profoundly different. We must restore manhood and womanhood.

In our servile economy, we raise bureaucrats not craftsmen. We must rediscover how to make things that are beautiful and lasting the products of human work. And we must dispense with the rent-seekers the proliferating middlemen whose own work contributes nothing. We have turned sports into a job for our children. Instead of playing we work out.

A genuine civilization is based on celebration. We must restore play to human life, seeing all the other days of the week in light of the Sabbath. The gigantic scale of government has made us a nation of idiots, incapable of attending to public affairs and the common good. We must insist that the Constitution is not whatever judges say it is, complying with but not obeying their edicts while we reclaim our freedom of religion one outdoor procession, one public lecture, one parish picnic at a time. We must love this world, but we have here no abiding city. The great division is between those who place all their hope in the present life and those who know that we are pilgrims. There is no retreat, but take courage we have our map.

Let us begin.

Title:Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture Reviews

  • Douglas Wilson

    Simply magnificent. Anthony Esolen is a baller....

  • Melanie

    I gobbled this book right up. Esolen reminds me of John Senior, but less cranky. He puts his finger precisely on the problems in American culture and then describes a beautiful, hopeful alternative. T...

  • Cindy Rollins

    Esolen is a prophet, and as such he says extreme, yet needful things. We all can't be prophets nor should we be but we should all listen to our prophets even if they make us very sad for what we have ...

  • Charles J

    Reading this book is like wearing sackcloth and heaping ashes on your head. It certainly brings home to you that things have gone wrong, but unless the act of penance itself calls forth redemption, wh...

  • Stephen

    Some things, like a Roman bridge, can last for millennia through the virtue of their design, the simplicity of their use, and the inherent strength of their materials. Other things, like the Golden Ga...

  • Rick Davis

    Amazing book. Maybe the best and most comprehensive critique of modern culture that I've read. I recommend it for absolutely everyone!...

  • Michael

    I don't know why I picked up this book. The whole "why has our culture decayed?" thing is interesting to me, I guess. I like the Catholic intellectual tradition, and this guy--a professor of classics ...

  • An Idler

    There are many pessimistic, scorched-earth screeds written by authors without a fraction of Esolen's humane vision and sensibility. This is not one of those bitter manifestos. It is an affirmation of ...

  • Jane

    This book is all dog-eared with bits that I want to share with people. I want everyone to read it....

  • Graychin

    Mr Esolen begins: “In this book I shall indulge myself in one of civilized man’s most cherished privileges. I shall decry the decay of civilization.” And that’s just what he does – rather ef...