Magazine May 20, 2019, Issue

My Father Left Me Ireland Connects Broken Homes to Broken Nations

My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home, by Michael Brendan Dougherty (Sentinel, 240 pp., $24)

There is something oddly cold and clinical about how we usually talk about what ails the modern West. Some analysts weave the strands of our dysfunction into tales of economic woe or privilege run amok. Others try to understand our problems in terms of principles violated or freedoms curtailed. Others still resort to social science, hoping studies might explain what’s wrong in terms that let them keep some distance from it. All this often leaves us personifying problems while dehumanizing persons, and that is no way to understand ourselves.

But while this impulse for abstraction can blind us, it also

This article appears as “Land of Our Fathers” in the May 20, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

In This Issue

In Defense of Markets

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

Until Biden’s poll numbers come down, we advise the women of Iowa and New Hampshire to keep their distance.


The Latest

Rat Patrol

Rat Patrol

Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.
Why Obama Failed

Why Obama Failed

In a revealing interview, Obama tried to burnish his image for progressive posterity — but he still doesn’t understand his fundamental errors.