Ast ego curarum vobis arcana mearum
Expromam mentisque meae quo pondera vergant.
“But I will reveal to you my secrets, and the weighty matters that oppress my mind.”
–Lucan, Pharsalia VIII.278.
My fourth book, Pathways, will be released within the next ten to fourteen days. It is a collection of the very best short essays of 2015.
There are 56 essays in all, all of which have been edited, polished, and refurbished, together with an easy-to-locate organizing system.
There are also footnotes and an extensive index. So there is a lot here.
As readers know, Fortress of the Mind is not an ordinary blog. It is a true store-house of knowledge, arcana, and erudition.
So there is considerable value just in having all of this information at one’s fingertips, organized, annotated, and arranged for easy reference.
2015 has been a rewarding year for all of us. One reader told me that he intended to read one short essay each night to his sons before they went to bed. I can’t think of a higher compliment than this.
The following excerpt is from the book’s introduction:
This volume collects what I consider to be my most important short essays of 2015. The selection covers topics in history, ethics, language, physical fitness, biography, travel, masculinity, and other subjects.
Readers of my previous books Thirty-Seven and Pantheon will feel the connective tissues of persistent themes that embrace the whole: endurance, struggle, the quest for achievement and knowledge, glory, tragedy, defeat, and redemption. These are eternal themes, because they are the themes of life itself.
If this author has erred, in the preparation of this book, on the side of exuberant prolixity, he hopes that the patient reader will be mindful of the need to give these great motifs the extended treatment they deserve. Human drama must be granted proper room to breathe, and the space to sing its harmonies.
Each of these essays has been carefully edited for clarity. Many have been expanded and amplified from their original form. Footnotes have been added where necessary, and I have also included an index.
Let us plunge recklessly into these waters, and test both wave and current. For a great expanse has been laid out before us, and the lessons we learn now are the fuel that will power all coming journeys.
For as Lucan says (IV.191): at this moment our era can exert a tremendous influence on the future.
Rio de Janeiro
I am looking forward to 2016 with great anticipation.
One gets the feeling that great things are in the air, and that issues of supreme importance to all of us will be facing the jury and verdict of history.
We will face these challenges just as we always have: with stern resolution, perseverance, and an unflagging spirit.
For this is who we are, and this is what we do.