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

Last updated date: June 18, 2019

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

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We looked at the top History Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best History Book you should buy.

Update as July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best History Book for a detailed review of all the top history books.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 66 expert reviews, the Ben Shapiro The Right Side of History placed 7th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the top conservative podcast in the nation. A New York Times bestselling author, Shapiro is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and an Orthodox Jew, his work has been profiled in nearly every major American publication, and he has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows. He has appeared as the featured speaker at many conservative events on campuses nationwide, several of those appearances targeted by progressive and “Antifa” activists.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

6 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

610 user reviews

What experts liked

In this strongly written survey of Western thought and cogent statement of democratic principle, Mr. Shapiro provides an analysis of our current crisis, its causes and potential cures, advocating a return to the basic values upon which our civilization was built.
- The Washington Times
Over the course of Shapiro’s ambitious tome, he makes several valid and important points. As usual, he is at his best when he’s demolishing a terrible argument, usually being trotted out by a left-leaning political opponent.
- Medium
The Right Side of History makes useful and perceptive distinctions between French, German, and Anglo Enlightenment ideas, and the good and bad strains therein. Shapiro shows that his reading is equal in width and depth. The book is impressively researched and thorough in the places it wishes to be.
- Quillette
Blending history of ideas, philosophy, and up-to-the-minute cultural commentary, he examines both how the West was lost and how it might be recovered. From these twin starting points, Shapiro takes the reader on a whirlwind tour through time. The book is a welcome corrective to bad history of ideas in other respects, particularly the secular neo-Enlightenment revisionism of thinkers like Steven Pinker.
- Patheos

What experts didn't like

The key problem with Shapiro’s overall position is that he takes a contingent fact (that Europeans happened to be mostly Judeo-Christian) and attributes causal historical power to that fact.
- Medium
Narratively, the book is a bit neat. It draws clear A-to-Bs between every idea and its adoption. If you want to understand any historical event or societal shift, all you need to do is look for the philosopher whose ideas will lead you there. The history of ideas is rarely that simple. In that sense it underestimates the ways in which history is—to use a term I suspect Shapiro will hate—dialectical.
- Quillette
“Divisive” as it sounds, there’s no gentle way to say it: The reader who makes a careful and impartial study of the New Testament’s provenance must inevitably conclude that it can only be explained as a product of deception, insanity, or reality. Nothing in between will suffice. Shapiro, it seems, has yet to make such a study.
- Patheos
In Shapiro’s conception, the West in general and America in particular could begin to fill the “meaning-shaped hole” at its center if it turned back to an arrangement much like the one he himself has: religious (monotheism only, please), science-denying, married, and male. This would be sordidly amusing in its own way if the rest of The Right Side of History weren’t so often either sloppy or deceitful or both.
- Open Letters Review

An Overview On History Books

  • You’ll likely choose a history book based on an event you simply want to learn more about. If you’re fascinated with the history of man, Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” will appeal to you. Gregory A. Freeman’s “The Forgotten 500” focuses on 500 specific men, covering Operation Halyard, which was part of World War II. Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” homes in on American history, tossing out the history taught in schools with the goal of teaching the unvarnished truth about our country. Donnie Eichar’s “Dead Mountain” tells the fascinating story of nine experienced hikers who died mysteriously after inexplicably exiting their tent during a camping trip.
  • Readability is huge with a history book, especially if you prefer a more casual, laid-back approach to storytelling. Gregory A. Freeman’s “The Forgotten 500” reads like a suspense novel, taking you along on the adventure. Donnie Eichar’s “Dead Mountain” is also immensely readable, retelling an already riveting story based on years of research. Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” on the other hand, is 464 pages and does tend to read a bit like a textbook.
  • The best history books go beyond merely telling a story, instead conveying a theme that can serve as a mirror of what humanity is going through today. Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” poses questions that make readers think. The author explores the reasons behind humans building large populations, compared to other primates that keep things small.
  • Some historical novels are worth reading simply because they tell a story that’s long overdue to be told. Gregory A. Freeman’s “The Forgotten 500” brings to light the men who had to fight hard to get back to their families, also acknowledging those who died for their right to do so.
  • Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” is not objective, but that’s part of the book’s charm. With passion, the author tells the stories of the Americans often forgotten in history books — namely women and people of color, as well as factory workers and immigrant laborers.
  • Donnie Eichar’s “Dead Mountain” tells the well-known Dyatlov Pass mystery, which has yet been solved. Although Eichar does detail the facts leading up to the hikers’ mysterious sudden departure from their tent into the blustery cold, snowy night, the rest is his own theory into what happened. He does pull as many facts as possible into making those statements, and his theory is better than most of the others that have been proposed in this case.
  • As valuable as all the other factors are, if the historical novel you’re reading isn’t accurate, it isn’t worth reading. Even when a book is accurate, though, you’ll usually find the author has no choice but to occasionally inject a personal opinion or two. In Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” for instance, the author structures an argument that the agricultural revolution was one of the biggest mistakes in history. Gregory A. Freeman’s “The Forgotten 500” shows a bias toward Draza Mihailovich, who was a Yugoslav Serb and friend of the U.S. during World War II. Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” does assert heavily that the ruling class’s oppression of a part of the population is to blame for everything that has happened in America. In Donnie Eichar’s “Dead Mountain,” the author offers a scientific, weather phenomenon-related explanation for nine people rushing from a tent, separating and later being found dead in various conditions.

The History Book Buying Guide

Writer and philosopher George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But before you can remember the past, you first must know about it. History class probably taught you all the basics, but it’s up to you, as an adult, to take a deep dive into various events.

The history section of a bookstore is as diverse as any other genre. It captures a span of centuries and events, covering everything from mysterious happenings to war heroes. As you browse, you’ll likely be drawn to the type of subject matter that best suits your interest. But more goes into a good historical novel than the topic it’s covering.

With any historical telling, you’re getting one person’s perspective on the events. A good author will conduct thorough research and even conduct numerous interviews in order to present all the facts to the reader. But many historical books are written with at least a little bias, as the author can’t possibly provide every single perspective. Make sure before you read that you’re going to get as accurate a portrayal as possible, rather than simply reading an author’s thoughts on what happened.

That said, there are some history books that require a bit of speculation. Even historical experts sometimes contribute their thoughts to these books. If you’re reading about a war, for instance, you may only get one side’s perspective, requiring you to pick up another book to get the full picture.

In the end, though, whether a history book is enjoyable or not will have a lot to do with how it’s written. Some history books are very straightforward, like a textbook, but many others inject humor or the author’s unique voice into the writing to keep you turning the page. Read a few pages of the book before you buy to make sure the writing suits your own personal tastes.