A couple of years ago, I was sorting through the annual pile of books that comes to my door as a judge in the Christianity Today Book Awards (history and biography category). It was The Year of the Erics. A little giddy with the “new book smell,” I ploughed through Eric Metaxas‘s Big Bonhoeffer Book–critiqued at last week’s Wheaton Bonhoeffer conference, I understand, for being “not scholarly enough.” Then I turned to Eric Miller‘s biography of Christopher Lasch, Hope in a Scattering Time, with a thrill of anticipation.
You see, during my graduate studies, Lasch’s own Culture of Narcissism had struck me with all the force of revelation. This was history as moral crusade, and an acute analysis of American culture to boot. The sort of thing that might even convince a reader that the history of ideas, though hoary with age and encrusted with the critiques of modern “social historians” and “cultural historians,” still carries great power and usefulness. Continue reading