The Corner

Jacques Barzun, R.I.P.

The eminent historian is dead at 104.

In 1997, Dr. Barzun moved to San Antonio, where he finished the 800-page “From Dawn to Decadence.” … Given the book’s title, some readers suggested that he saw the contemporary period as a new and hopeless Dark Age. Instead, he said, he was a believer in chaos, “a sudden twist in the course of events,” heralding a brighter time. He added, “I have always been — I think any student of history almost inevitably is — a cheerful pessimist.”

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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