Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

Robert D. Kaplan’s “The Tragic Mind”

This short book is one of Kaplan’s most personal. Kaplan has been a foreign correspondent and has written many books about the struggles of politics under the tyranny of geography in faraway places. Unlike most of his other works, “The … Continue reading

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On Conservative Reaction

It’s hard for me to imagine the excitement people must have felt when they first got their hands on John Locke’s “First and Second Treatises of Government”. Emerging from tyranny, the wickedness of a vile nobility, absolute monarchy, the horrible … Continue reading

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On “Gulag Archipelago”

Most writers have one masterpiece. Everything else that they do is leading up to, or trying to explain, their one great work. A flash of brilliance. It is also likely that the work is not the one they themselves identify … Continue reading

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Did China Discover America?

We are all living in a narrow interglacial period of an ice age which has been going on for more than 2,000,000 years. In all likelihood, another glacial period is just around the corner and the frenetic fixation on “global … Continue reading

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Ozymandias (Harry Melling in Buster Scruggs)

I have become haunted by this poem by Percy Shelley, particularly as read by Harry Melling in “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”. Melling is a genius, probably the only good thing to come out of the Harry Potter series. Shelley … Continue reading

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When We Cease To Understand the World

This last year two scientists working on Quantum Mechanics won the Nobel Prize. Quantum Mechanics was invented by Heisenberg as part of his “uncertainty principle”. It is a bizarre field. How is it possible that, at the quantum level, the … Continue reading

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Mud and Stars (or maybe ‘A liberal in Russia’?)

Sara Wheeler’s book about Russian writers could have been great. She is a good writer, when she can get out of her own way, and clearly knows the subject matter well. In this book, Wheeler takes the reader on a … Continue reading

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Was There A Pre-Flood Civilization?

About 2,400,000 years ago the earth entered into an ice age. This ice age is likely still going on, there having been at least 17 interglacial periods which represented a warming of the planet, a receding of the ice caps, … Continue reading

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The Indo-Europeans

Philology is the study of languages, their etymology and development and history. It is a sort of linguistic archeological anthropology; and while everyday anthropology is sort of an act of accident (you stumble upon something buried in a hole), philology … Continue reading

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Invitation to a Beheading

Vladimir Nabokov said “Invitation to a Beheading” was his best work; he evidently wrote it in the period of two weeks. Nabokov was of course a Russian writer and intellectual who was exiled by the Bolsheviks to Germany and who … Continue reading

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