Book reviews from The Movie Snob
America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, by Mark Steyn (2006). This is a doomsayer’s book of a different sort. Instead of lamenting the population explosion, Steyn takes the opposite tack. As he has reported in his journalism for some time, Japan, Russia, and the Western democracies (the United States excepted) are about to go into sharp population decline on account of unprecedentedly low birthrates. Countries with large Muslim populations, by contrast, have the highest birthrates in the world, and the Muslim populations within Europe have many more children than do the natives. This spells big trouble on several fronts. If trends persist, the depopulating countries will face (i) economic upheaval as they try to sustain expensive welfare systems and (ii) political upheaval as unassimilated Muslims flex their numerical muscle. And the United States will find itself even more unpopular and even more bereft of allies in the struggle against Islamic fascism.
Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary, by Henry Hitchings (2005). This is an enjoyably breezy read about how Samuel Johnson almost single-handedly wrote one of the best, earliest, most comprehensive dictionaries of the English language. Certainly a much quicker introduction to the famous Johnson than Boswell’s 1200-page biography.