two comments on a review

Two brief thoughts about David Sessions’s review of my recent book:

  1. I don’t treat the works and writers that Sessions thinks I should have (see his penultimate paragraph) because they’re beyond the scope of my book. I didn’t write a book about Christian responses to World War II or technocracy or liberalism, but rather one about a small collection of people who were particularly interested in education. I’m selective even in treating my five protagonists, as I explain in the Preface: “All that they did and thought and suffered and wrote that does not relate to the circulation of these questions will be set aside here, though sometimes referred to parenthetically and in notes for the benefit of those who may be curious.” But in order to remind my readers that the concerns these writers shared are not the only valid ones, I have an Interlude called “Other Pilgrims, Other Paths” in which (pace Sessions) I do in fact mention the Catholic Worker Movement.
  2. Sessions says that my “reading of the Christian humanists proposes retreat into literature at precisely the moment bold thinking about power and technology are most needed.” I am not aware of proposing anything, and I don’t know what a “retreat into literature” might be. My protagonists are not strictly literary in their interests (indeed, Maritain says almost nothing about literature). But for what it’s worth, I do think that reading literature can be quite valuable, and would be happy to provide, on request, a list of literary works that in my judgment constitute “bold thinking about power and technology.”