Garry Wills has a witty demolition of a new book, All Things Shining, attempting to sketch a philosophy of life in the current New York Review of Books. I've not read the book. But as described by Wills it seems silly. (The conclusion apparently includes a meditation on the deeper meaning of making one's own coffee.) And yet it has blurbs from figures I greatly admire, and whose work I know reasonably well (Charles Taylor) and also big names in American higher education (Vartan Gregorian). I wonder: is Wills too harsh or do these big names endorse books they don't even read?Update:See Sean Kelly's thoughtful (and admirably undefensive) response to Wills here. I take this to mean that Kelly (and Taylor and his other admirers) have something important to say, and that I need to actually read the book.
John T. McGreevy is the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.