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The Unbroken Thread

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529364538

Price: £20

ON SALE: 10th June 2021

Genre: Humanities / Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy

‘A serious – and seriously readable – book about the deep issues that our shallow age has foolishly tried to dodge’ – Douglas Murray

‘A crystal-clear analysis of the multiple failures of “me-first” contemporary liberalism’ Giles Fraser

For millennia, philosophical, ethical and theological reflection was commonplace among the intellectually curious. But the wisdom that some of the greatest minds across the centuries continue to offer us remains routinely ignored in our modern pursuit of self-fulfilment, economic growth and technological advancement.

Sohrab Ahmari, the influential Op-Ed editor at the New York Post, offers a brilliant examination of our postmodern Western culture, and an analysis of the paradox at its heart: that the ‘freedoms’ we enjoy – to be or do whatever we want, subject only to consent, with everything morally neutral or relative – are at odds with the true freedom that comes from the pursuit of the collective good.

Rather than the insatiable drive to satisfy our individual appetites, this collective good involves self-sacrifice and self-control. It requires us to diminish so that others may grow. What responsibility do we have to our parents? Should we think for ourselves? Are sexual ethics purely a private matter? How do we justify our lives? These, and other questions – explored in the company of a surprising range of ancient and contemporary thinkers – reveal how some of the most ancient moral problems are as fresh and relevant to our age as they were to our ancestors.

By plumbing the depths of each question, the book underscores the poverty of our contemporary narratives around race, gender, privilege (and much else), exposing them as symptoms of a deep cultural crisis in which we claim a false superiority over the past, and helps us work our way back to tradition, to grasp at the thin, bare threads in our hands, while we still can.

Reviews

A serious - and seriously readable - book about the deep issues that our shallow age has foolishly tried to dodge.
Douglas Murray
Sohrab Ahmari offers a compelling account of the need for tradition in a world of arid, technocratic secularism. Combining a father's love and a crystal-clear analysis of the multiple failures of 'me-first' contemporary liberalism, he mines the past for a devastating critique of the present, providing much needed wisdom in these dark times. Beautifully written and passionately argued, The Unbroken Thread is an absolute must-read: a book that reminds us how much is at stake in some of the most urgent debates of our day.
Giles Fraser
In a moving series of reflections about figures from our culture, from Maximilian Kolbe to Andrea Dworkin, from Augustine to C. S. Lewis, Sohrab Ahmari raises profound questions about how the past teaches us about the present, and how Christianity unites to and contrasts with the human world outside the faith, from ancient paganism to the secularism of today. A wonderfully written, provocative book.
Thomas Pink, professor of philosophy, King's College London
Sohrab Ahmari offers more than a vivid and learned defense of traditionalism. With fatherly love, he leads his son - and us - on a fearless consideration of life's big questions, taking thinkers of many historical times and circumstances as interlocutors. Along the way, he recovers truths about the nature and flourishing of the human person - truths seemingly in danger of being forgotten in our contentious and uncertain times.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
Ahmari's tour de force makes tradition astonishingly vivid and relevant for the here and now. Only a writer with Ahmari's intellect, his audacious commitment to faith and reason, and a journalist's gift for storytelling could have pulled this off. From the first line to the last, The Unbroken Thread glows like an electrified filament, illuminating a sure path through this new Dark Age.
Rod Dreher
Drawing on the deepest wells of ancient and modern wisdom from around the world, The Unbroken Thread weaves together essential lessons desperately needed to guide a new generation into an uncertain future. Written with love as a legacy for his young son, Sohrab Ahmari has produced a gift for all of us.
Patrick J. Deneen, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame
Sohrab Ahmari has been thinking for himself since arriving from Iran as a youth. Paradoxically, he has thought himself back into the heart of our best traditions and has seen, with striking clarity, that the modern quest for total liberation of the intellect and will is both quixotic and damaging, individually and collectively. This clever and engaging work is the result; the dozen questions it asks are fresh, and the answers it gives are powerfully persuasive.
Adrian Vermeule, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School
In a time of widespread confusion and uncertainty about the meaning of life, Sohrab Ahmari makes a strong case for the truth and relevance of traditional values, virtues, and beliefs. This is a unique and hopeful book that reminds us that the human person is made for great and beautiful things - far more than the vision of life offered by our society today.
Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles
With The Unbroken Thread, Sohrab Ahmari has written an urgent love letter to America. The 'self-seeking' that began in '60s, was the backdrop of his childhood, growing up in Iran with parents who yearned for a life of freedom, outside the confines of religious oppression. Now a parent himself, he writes of a new understanding of freedom. As having a child instantly teaches us, it's no longer about you. Ahmari uses his personal experience, but then broadens out to draw on wisdoms of all ages and faiths. He jars us out of our 'selfie'-obsessed world, with the clear message that commitment to faith, to others, and to humanity, is actually the most liberating existence of all.
Martha MacCallum
In this fascinating book, Sohrab Ahmari eloquently articulates what many American Founders understood and the French revolutionaries forgot: that faith is essential for freedom to truly flourish, and that we abandon the wisdom of the past at great peril to our future. Traditional Jews, Christians and all who care about the future of the West are in his debt.
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yeshiva University
Thought provoking
The Sunday Telegraph
We cannot undo technological or material changes; the moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on, as the Persian poet Omar Khayyam said. What we can do is match well-written, thoughtful and true arguments like Ahmari's with serious thinking about how to make the material incentives match them.
Unherd
Sohrab Ahmari's robust defence of inherited wisdom, rooted overwhelmingly if not exclusively in the Christian faith, may be interpreted as a scholarly rebuke to the fashionable currents of our rootless age.
The Times
engaging and entertaining read
The Critic
Perhaps because Ahmari is writing for his son, there is an enthralling immediacy in the way he reads.
The Times