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Top Five Book Reviews of 2020

In 2020, Law & Liberty continued to be one of the best places on the web to find incisive reviews of the latest books on law, politics, and culture. Here are the five most-read book reviews of the year:

1. Higher Ed is Crumbling, by Scott Yenor

“Products of the old education would have cheeks that burn red when the country was disrespected. Today’s students only blush at their own “privilege.” (Reviewed: John M. Ellis, The Breakdown of Higher Education)

2. Howard Zinn: Fake Historian, by Ronald Radosh

“Zinn had a different project in mind than most historians. As he wrote, history is ‘not about understanding the past,’ but about ‘changing the future.'” (Reviewed: Mary Grabar, Debunking Howard Zinn)

3. The Expanding Tyranny of Cant, by Theodore Dalrymple

“The purpose of cant is either to present the person who utters it as morally superior to others or to himself as he really is, or to shut other people up.” (Reviewed: Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, Grandstanding)

4. America’s Ruling Class, by Mark Pulliam

“Many government officials exercise nearly-limitless discretion to determine whether individuals, businesses, and nonprofit entities are in ‘compliance’ with a vast and amorphous body of regulations.” (Reviewed: James R. Copland, The Unelected)

5. These Truths Were Made for You and Me, by Richard Samuelson

“Lepore’s book reads like an effort to create a storyline that could help us to restore a lost world, but it is not history.” (Reviewed: Jill Lepore, These Truths)

Reader Discussion

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on December 30, 2020 at 09:56:04 am

L&L offers "the five most-read book reviews of the year" as the ''Top Five Book Reviews of 2020" and repeats the process for its 2020 podcasts and forums. I have three questions and a suggestion. Is " five most-read" determined by counting the number of internet hits on an article, the number of comments on it, or by using some other standard of measurement? Is L&L's designation of articles as the "Top Five" merely a numerical determination or is it a qualitative determination? If only the number of hits is used to determine "most-read," how do the editors know that the article has actually been read? If "most-read" is based merely on hits, then it is probably an inaccurate assertion. If "Top Five" is not a qualitative determination then it is of little value. Having read all and commented on many if not most of the essays, forums, book reviews and podcasts in 202O, I would strongly disagree on grounds of quality with the inclusion of several of the purported "Top Five" in the forums, podcasts and book review categories. (No determination has been published as to "Top Five essays.")

I suggest that L&L determine what is "most-read" based on the number of reader comments, determine what is "Top" based on what is "best," and assign selection of "best" to its readers by conducting a poll in mid-December, thereby assuring that the selections are numerically the "most-read" and qualitatively the "Top Five."

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Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.