Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
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Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  2,135 ratings  ·  342 reviews
From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.

A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight int...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Crown Forum (first published January 1st 2013)
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I made Charles Krauthammer's "acquaintance" via FOX over the past few years and found that he has been the person I listen to most carefully on a variety of current political and cultural topics. Why? Because he actually analyzes events from all sides and looks at the evidence logically before coming to a conclusion and not in lockstep with every other commentator, and that I find so refreshing.Truly a thinking man, but not unfamiliar with life's challenges or without passions-love that chess an...more
I love this book! Krauthammer is brilliant, witty and, yes, at times sentimental (who knew? ;-). Of course, being a conservative politically I loved all of his political commentary - historical and current day equally. This book has so much more than that. A few of my non-political favorites were "Manners", "Of Dogs and Men" and "Don't Touch My Junk". I just finished adding all of my favorite quotes from this book to "my quotes"...I might as well have just typed out the entire book (and some of...more
Clara Roberts
This book divided into sixteen chapters consisted of ninety essays or columns written by Krauthammer over thirty years. The most griping essay was Zion and the Fate of the Jew. K. goes back into history to 586 B.C. and discusses each of the efforts to destroy the Jewish civilization. No other group of people with the same language, religion, and culture has existed as long as the Jew. No other people have contributed so much to the good of the rest of the world. Still there is an effort to wipe...more
This is not really a review of such differing and numerous topics published here, but just some adjectives. Superb prose. Courageous intelligence. Dynamic, deep, loving devotion to what is important for human moderns. These coming from a doctor of the mind and the body who has followed his own fate during a lifetime moving on some nearly impossible personal and context paths. And with grace and total lack of vitriol in every sense, as well. Do not agree 100% with this man, but his wisdom is more...more
Christian Dibblee
It's tough to give full thoughts on this book since so many subjects are discussed and dissected. I am resigned to giving my general thoughts on his wider positions and the book's content.

First, the writing is impeccable. I don't know a political columnist who writes with such force and accessibility as Krauthammer. He defends his position in very concise ways and shows his general intelligence with a broad vocabulary and intellectual basis. His personal stories are great, especially when he goe...more
Brilliant analytical mind that makes complex issues easy to understand. This collection of editorial essays on a wide variety of subjects hones in on what does indeed truly matter. I can't imagine anyone but the intellectually dishonest taking much exception with his clear and concise arguments which are presented on a wide range of complex subjects. learned a good deal from this collection of editorials that I believe could change the hearts and minds of many for the betterment of our world.
A superb collection of political columns written over a 30-year timespan by an idol of mine. The life and times of Dr. Charles Krauthammer is worth a book unto itself. Having moved to Montreal at the age of 5 and lived there until after his undergraduate studies at McGill University, he went on to Harvard Med. What happens next is heartbreaking; Dr. Krauthammer suffered permanent paralysis from a diving accident. Refusing to let the accident define him, he convinced the school to allow him to co...more
Tim Gerdes
I should begin by stating that I am not a Fox News viewer and I do not share Dr. Krauthammer's ideology. That said, I was given this book as a gift, I like to consider contrary viewpoints and I perceive myself as open-minded and persuadable to new ideas. I felt it fair to consider Dr. Krauthammer's opinions with as little prejudice as possible.

To the good. Dr. Krauthammer is an excellent writer. He is articulate, concise and often funny. He writes movingly about space exploration, baseball, ches...more
Anita Pomerantz
I just can't bring myself to give a compilation of columns, no matter how well chosen and organized, a five star rating, so we will have to settle for four stars, but that being said, the book is excellent.
Of course there are a few caveats:
- My review is totally biased because I love Krauthammer's writing and often agree with his views
- Although he is a former Democrat, he is now clearly conservative, and since I lean that way on almost every non social issue, well my views are especially simpat...more
I almost give this book three stars because it was often thought-provoking. But Krauthammer's utter contempt for "liberalism" often overshadowed his ideas. The final quarter of the book says the same thing in essay after excruciating essay. He also seems to fall in love with certain words of phrases. I know a guy whose every political argument includes the concept of liberals being "poo-flinging monkees." Krauthammer is no better, using the analogy of Gulliver being tied down way too often. Wors...more
Keenan Johnston
I was hoping this book would be more on the man, that his works. This is basically a collection of some of his best Washington Post essays. 30% are really interesting, 30% I didn't care about at all, and the rest were somewhere in the middle. I have a lot of respect for Charles Krauthammer as an independent thinker so reading his pieces are were stimulating. I enjoyed the way he infuses humor into his pieces, and came away with several new words to use due to his incredible lexicon.

His pieces ra...more
Tony Taylor
This is a collectiosn of Charles Krauthammer's weekly columns and articles he has written over the many years as a political columnist. Many of his articles are interesting as well as well as enlightening; all of them are short and easy to read. This is one of those books that one picks up and reads a donzen pages or so in between other readings. Actually I found the introduction as interesting and informative as many of his articles. Krauthammer writes of his interesting background having once...more
Across three decades, this medically trained, erudite journalist and Fox news consultant, has educated and informed millions of readers with his essays on every conceivable major issue confronting the country, but he is not one-dimensional, he wrote also on more mundane subjects like baseball and chess. His essays fly across the page because of his eloquence, intellect and wit.

His essays are reasoned and well written to inform a public thirsty for knowledge. Regardless of which side of the polit...more
I am not sure exactly why I did not give it five stars, and I yet may. Perhaps just a reluctance to too easily "give it up." It is one of those books. He does cover multiple decades in his selection of his writings, so maybe that's one reason, - to have looked for it being only his best. I only take off a couple points for him having given primacy to politics rather than spirituality. He would probably do as well in theology in his ability to engage - but it's not his passion (this I believe he...more
column collection, organized by topic (foreign policy, domestic politics, pastimes [I'd forgotten he's so into chess, for instance], personal profiles, etc.).

In case you're not familiar with him, he's a very smart (IMO), conservative columnist. I agree with him pretty much on a few issues, disagree on most, but almost always find his take thought-provoking.

He or his people did a nice job of editing this one. Usually I have found it boring to read compilations if I regularly read the columnist -...more
I read political books but I don't usually review them, for the same reason that it's not good to talk about politics or religion. But I wanted to share my thoughts about Charles Krauthammer's book, Things That Matter.
The book is a series of essays Krauthammer wrote from the early 1990s to the present. There's some overlap, and some of the essays are out of date (talking about world politics in the pre-2001 era isn't particularly helpful, in my opinion). Krauthammer talks about the Israel questi...more
S. Shelton
Krauthammer includes ninety plus columns, quips, and screeds on topics that matter to him and ought to matter to us. His comments were previously published in the Washington Post, Time, The New Republic and “other places.” He makes no pretense to be objective. He views the world, its inhabitations, and their foibles through his conservative lens. He discerns the essence of a topic, fashion, or folly, and through keen erudition tells us what we cannot perceive and why we should care.

He’s divided...more
Tom Stamper
Recycled collections rarely make great reading, but Charles Krauthammer has done a good job digging into the archives to find pieces that are still pertinent. Although Krauthammer began his career in Washington working for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, his foreign policy items dating back to the early 80s show a pretty consistent vision of the world. You could say that he was a cold warrior on the Left that moved Right when the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democrat party folded its tent. Probabl...more
Don Weidinger
why haven’t we heard from another planet, what moves spirit elevates mind, psychiatry to journalism, highest culture of Germany33 swept away as other suicidal democracies ever expanding circle of ruin via 20th century politics, Adams study politics and war to progress to philosophy and science and beyond maybe revolution every 20, raw certainty with suspicion, John Stuart Mill, democratic party left me with nuclear freeze insanity during Reagan failure of welfare state and great society policies...more
Amazingly logical commentary on "Things That Matter." Hope for the future happiness, health and safety of our children and their children seems to diminish with each new government policy. Isn't there anyone out there that can see this happening? Yes, there are and Dr. Krauthammer is a fine example. We are on the slippery edge and which way we go depends on us! We need to be informed and listening to Dr. Krauthammer is would be a excellent start. Check out his weekly commentary in the Washington...more
Charles Krauthammer is undoubtedly the best political analyst of our day. This book, it turns out, is a compilation of numerous editorials and articles he has written over the years ranging in subject matter from border collies, the Washington Nationals, the space program, and serious matters like the Middle East crisis. Charles has a very analytical mind and can dissect each problem into fact and fiction without the "political speak" used by most columnists. I particularly liked his column on M...more
I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. I do not endorse or become involved in the politics of any country, remaining strictly and uncompromisingly neutral. However, I found Dr. Krauthammer's thoughts, political and otherwise, to be well-thought out, elegantly written, unbiased, and very educational, even though there were many of his views with which I personally disagree. He is obviously an intelligent man and reading through his essays over the last 30 years as found in the Washingto...more
This was an excellent book. It is a collection of columns and essays, which I don’t care for as much as I used to (given that I read 2-4 columns now each day in newspapers), but this was an excellently arranged collection. Krauthammer does a great job of sampling from across the spectrum and his three decades of opinion writing for the entire book, and arranges them by salient topics(or, sometimes their refreshing irreverence and lack of consequence). Also, his columns are incredibly prescient,...more
I remember when I was young, I would get so angry every time I read one Krauthammer's op-ed pieces in Time. I don't agree with everything he states, but he's a great thinker and a wonderful writer. If you want to learn some intelligent conservative viewpoints without subjecting yourself to Fox News, this is a must-read.
Pam Fullem
I liked this book. The title, however, is a little misleading, as it was more about politics than passions and pastimes. In fact most of the politics was foreign policy issues. This does not mean it is not a good book. It is in reality a compilation of various articles he has written for "The New Republic", the "Washington Post", to name a few. It goes back to the 1990s at least. I have seen this book on the N.Y. Times best sellers list, so I was curious. Dr. Krauthammer writes with passion abou...more
In the Introduction, Krauthammer explains that "The body of this book is made up of newspaper columns and shorter magazine pieces grouped by theme in 16 chapters."

This is a book that I browsed, not one that I read cover to cover. And, as much as I admire the author himself, it is not a book that I enjoyed reading. Each of the articles on their own are wonderfully and thoughtfully written, but to sit down and read one after the other is a tedious process.

In the end, I scanned the index for topi...more
I have been a fan since his guest appearances on FOX but had read little that he had written. I enjoyed the concise, informative capsule essays about a number of topics including some subjects that I have no interest in such as baseball. I admit that many of his conclusions were simpatico with mine so I liked the reinforcement. My favorite essays had to do with space exploration and our space program which was shut down by Obama in 2010. He clearly reminded me of how those decisions will come to...more
John Orman
Krauthammer is a well-syndicated political columnist, and his wit and deep thought show through here.
Much interesting analysis and humor here from a true power in American conservatism.

I liked the baseball essay on Rick Ankiel: "Return of the Natural", about pitcher Rick Ankiel's return to the Cardinals as a right fielder in 2007. Two homers and a miracle catch!

Fermat Solved is a 1993 essay on mathematics and the solution to Fermat's Last Theorem.

Farewell to the New Frontier talks about the 2012...more
WC Beaver
Charles Krauthammer, whether seen on Fox television and read in many columns of the Washington Post, possesses the maddening habit of enticing the viewer and reader into his insightful wisdom only to be left waiting for the coup de grace, the illuminating point that finally puts to rest the issue at hand. No less so in this baffling book dealing with three decades of passions, pastimes and politics, provocatively entitled, "Things That Matter."

Among Krauthammer's concerns are personal reminiscen...more
Sharon Allen
A complication of three decades of his writings - highly personal, thoughtful, intellectual. His political ideas have evolved over time leading him through close relationship with five presidents on both sides of the isle. His sense of humor, his humanity, and his ability to rise above rhetoric and pierce the heart of the truth has garnered him a following of avid followers. I count myself lucky to have a person as insightful as this man to help untangle the morass of political posturing that pa...more
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American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator, and physician. His column is syndicated to more than 400 newspapers and media outlets.
More about Charles Krauthammer...
Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World Cutting Edges: Making Sense of the Eighties Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics Paradoxes of Power: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changing World Religion and Politics in America: A Conversation

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“You can have the most advanced and efflorescent cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933...Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.” 2 likes
“To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” 2 likes
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