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The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  822 ratings  ·  113 reviews
America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate.

In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate.
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Audible Audio
Published March 19th 2019
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Daddy-O If you haven't studied much Western philosophy, get ready to learn A LOT. Even if you have, it's a necessary exposition of the Conservative goal…moreIf you haven't studied much Western philosophy, get ready to learn A LOT. Even if you have, it's a necessary exposition of the Conservative goal directed at a contemporary audience; preserving the tradition that made America the most free, prosperous nation in history. If you appreciate these things, it will indeed be "epic."(less)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  822 ratings  ·  113 reviews


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Brian Popp
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro gives a stirring defense of the enduring truth found in the philosophy of our founding fathers. In this compact book he manages also to give a high level overview of the entire history of western thought that will be sufficient to understand the "big ideas" of the various contributors and also be good starting point for those who want to dig deeper.

In these turbulent times we are often hyper-focused on the "right now"; this book in my opinion helps us u
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Jeanette
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review is beyond my ability to adequately describe the thoroughness and point to point focus over historical periods for homo sapiens' individual and collective cores for their own existence and rules of/for behaviors.

In one point in particular, this finally made me understand the huge differences between two massive Revolutions that happened mere 3 short years apart (American and French) and why they evinced such alternative approaches within both processes and outcomes.

If you have taken
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Jerrid Kruse
Apr 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. I believe the judeo-Christian tradition to be a powerful framework to guide our living. However, the book was filled with logical fallacies, false equivalencies, spurious correlations, half truths, and cherry picking of ideas. For example, the author repeatedly makes causal claims based only on the fact that one event happened before the other. He believes the enlightenment was only possible with judeo-Christian values, but ignores the scientific advancement of non-Eu ...more
Daddy-O
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shapiro’s title for The Right Side of History was a little off-putting when I first saw it announced. Being so steeped in studying the philosophical presumptions of contemporary progressivism, as Shapiro certainly is, I tend to conflate the rhetoric of “progress” and the titular “right side of history” with Marx’s delusions of historical materialism and the inevitability of a Communist future. On the contrary, Marx co-opted these ideas from religious teleology and transformed them into his philo ...more
Tyler
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional read!

With only 200 pages, Ben Shapiro summarizes the history of Western philosophy in a thrilling and exciting fashion that makes you want to keep reading. He masterfully boils down each philosopher to the root of their ideas, explains its impact in the culture at that time and how each new philosophy led into the the next step of history.

He makes a compelling case for what we have lost in culture and gives clear and concise steps for us to take action on that will move us as a so
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Ryan
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Ben Shapiro. I listen to his podcast most days. I find him intellectually honest. He brings conservatism back to its fundamentals. In fact, I could say that I agree with him on 90% of his policy and reasoning.

This book presents an extremely important premise. Western civilization, which is built of Greek reason and Judeo-Christian values, is one of a kind. It brought us several core beliefs which eventually led to the foundation and the success of the United States. Losing thos
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MJD
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those interested in exploring the marriage of Jewish and Greek thought further I would highly recommend the book A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy by Isaac Husik.
Tyler Ouellet
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I played the audio book throughout the day it was released. Clearly I found it both a quick read / listen and compelling. It is without a doubt the the tour de force that the author promised.

For those who agree with Ben Shapiro and his general world view it is a good concise overview of the the history of western thought and progress. It spells out the triumphs of the "Athens and Jerusalem" world view and how the initially slow, but then quick abandonment of this wisdom now threatens western civ
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Jeremy
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: econ, heresy


The main thesis of the book is this: “There can be no individual or communal moral purpose without a foundation of divine meaning. There can be no individual capacity or communal capacity without a constant, abiding belief in the nature of our reason. The history of the West is built on the interplay between these two pillars - divine meaning and reason.”

Some who are not religious might dismiss the book entirely and argue that reason alone is sufficient for a good and happy society. To me, wheth
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Manny
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly not what I expected. Love him, hate him or love to hate him, Ben is certainly a figure that regardless where you stand, you have to give him credit, one of the most
nimble people to debate. His quick witted and thoughtful responses are interesting to watch weather you agree or not. This is the Spairo I was expecting to read. Instead I got a decent book about Judeo-Christian society and its norms. Again not what I expected.

I applaud Shapiro on his faith and the decisions he makes regar
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Marc
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-audio-books
Ben Shapiro's new book, available on Audible, is a rather brisk but often reasonably substantial reflection on Judeo-Christian history and the main troubles of our place and day. Like the great Rabbi Sacks lamentably, he doesn't really 'get' The Christian Way and relies inordinately on the 'Athens' and 'Jerusalem' trope, which is much more limited than it has been made out to be. (See Vishal Mangalwadi) However, Ben effectively outlines many major contours of moral and political ideas and their ...more
Camilla
So I actually read this book through twice because some of the philosophical concepts were too difficult for me to understand with just one run-through. I've said before that Ben's books aren't exactly enjoyable because he covers things that are hard to hear, but it is always enlightening to pick up one of his books. This books steered clear of politics for the most part except inasmuch as political policy was formed by the trending philosophical ideology of the time. It was part an exploration ...more
Renee
Great read! Insightful & relevant. I think I’m going to have to grab this as an ebook so I can highlight the parts I want to remember.
Jon Harris
One dimensional. Missed much of what made the West great. Good interaction with frankfort school.
kglibrarian
After reading this book, I feel like I just took an intense philosophy class. My brain hurts, in a good way. Shapiro traces the values of humans back to the beginning and analyzes the Judeo-Christian and Greek origins of civilizations. He then goes on to cover the thousands of years between then and now, quoting classic philosophers, thinkers, and political giants, both good and bad. Finally, he ends up critiquing the current political situation and how the events and beliefs throughout history ...more
Brenden Weber
Apr 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Shapiro's book is well researched......however

He managed to write an entire book without once arguing for his premise: that Judeo-Christian is the best, most rational, and ethical system to use for meaning and society.

He spent the entire book dismissing every other position as foolish and never said why or why his viewpoint is better. Very bizarre.
John-Clement Gallo
Thank you Ben! Very cool.

Another powerful installment from Ben Shapiro! Ignore all the 1-star reviews on Amazon, it's another example of the Left's intolerance. None of them ever read the book, they're just trashing it.

If you care about society and our culture's future (which looks very dark), read this book and educate yourself.
Yelizaveta Makhatadze
I can’t believe I just gave a 5 star rating to my ideological opponent’s book, but it it well deserved.
You don’t have to agree with everything written to derive tremendous value from it.
Matthew Pike
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was quite eager to read The Right Side of History as soon as Shapiro announced it. This subject is one I am particularly passionate about, and Shapiro has a knack for articulating dense, lofty material in a fashion that has depth while also being concise, understandable, and interesting. Therefore, I looked forward to this publication with much enthusiasm. Upon reading it, I was not let down.

Shapiro is extremely thorough in the presentation and support of his argument, which in short is that
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Joshua Rodriguez
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Shapiro concisely and expertly diagnosis the problem of the modern West’s identity and lack of purpose. He starts by stating that Athens and Jerusalem are the foundation for the West’s prosperity and earlier feeling of purpose. This is contrary to some of the more modern thoughts that may teach that the success of the West can be traced back to the enlightenment. Ben traces the line of virtue, purpose, and reason through Biblical texts and several philosophers throughout the ages. This book ...more
Jeffrey Kahl
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I Liked: The book is well-researched and mostly well-written. Shapiro understands that fundamental ideas are the engines that move history, and he presents the ideas of major thinkers fairly and accurately.

What I Didn’t Like: While Shapiro presents a truthful narrative of Western history, in his effort to present the necessity of Greek reason and Judeo-Christian religion, he fails to acknowledge some of the negative consequences of those ideas, particularly as they were manifested in the M
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Katie Vaughan
3.5. First of all, I wanted to say that I love Mr. Shapiro. I listen to his podcast every day and have read some of his other works. I am giving this a 3.5 because I thought that the book was a bit tough to follow and slow at times. I've studied both philosophy and ethics and I found myself being overwhelmed and lost at certain points due to the depth and large amount of information presented in such a short book. I do applaud Mr. Shapiro for the extent/quality of his research. I did learn quite ...more
William Hunter
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most hastily written, heedless, and unoriginal books I have ever read. For those who share Ben's politics, please spare yourself this book and read Leo Strauss's "Natural Right and History", Russell Kirk's "The Roots of American Order" or any of Harry V. Jaffa's books on American history. These authors make similar arguments but are, unlike Shapiro, honest and careful scholars who care about the subject they write about and, therefore, do not make the same number of basic mist ...more
Jon Mellberg
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book via Audible, which is narrated by the author. It's a short but great book. However, as a former, avid listener to the Ben Shapiro daily podcast, I can say that this book is a somewhat organized and polished reaffirmation of the ideals and history that Shapiro regularly dispenses in his podcast. That is NOT a bad thing, but it does make the book occasionally repetitive for someone like me.

As a six hour audio book it’s brief, and as such I sometimes yearned for a deeper dive into
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John Marcogliese
A necessary book

What a breadth of readings inspired this book. I am not surprised after hearing his podcasts. This is beyond a defence of the judeo Christian and Greek traditions. It shows how history illuminates false philosophies past and present. This fertile marriage is being attacked falsely not with reason but a new kind of bullying by discarding even mere words of reasoned contrarian arguments.
Robyn
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Ben rarely discusses politics and instead this is a great lesson on history and philosophy. I learned a lot!
Norine
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audible is great while waiting for my hard copy! Thank you, Ben.

While pursuing Happiness, we must reexamine what we believe.
Great Historic references that encourage ownership. Moral Purpose.
Clear Meaning, "Use of reason bound by higher purpose." Virtues.
Proven resources, the foundations, the Bible and Science. Ethics.

This book should become required reading in High School and College.
Virtuous Citizen Leaders must be informed, involved and brave.

A new beginning.
Generate a Moral Purpose. The
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Kody Masteller
3.5 stars. Legitimately surprised at how good this book was. Apart from a few stupid comments / hot takes and the misunderstanding of Kierkegaard’s idea of subjectivity, Shapiro does a great job of summarizing many key points on Western thought. The ending chapters on the Frankfurt School and how to be ecumenical with those who you disagree with were the highlights of this book. His talk on how today’s neo-enlightenment figures have come mutually agree on a plethora of issues with traditionalist ...more
Tim
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good summary of Western civilization's historic development, the good and the bad; why we're not really advancing as a society anymore.
Ashley Hall
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5*
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Benjamin Shapiro was born in 1984. He entered UCLA at the age of 16 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in Political Science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007. Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the U.S.

His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites including
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“The best countries—and the best societies—are those where citizens are virtuous enough to sacrifice for the common good but unwilling to be forced to sacrifice for the “greater” good. Flourishing societies require a functional social fabric, created by citizens working together—and yes, separately—toward a meaningful life.” 2 likes
“The Founding Fathers were devotees of Cicero and Locke, of the Bible and Aristotle.” 1 likes
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