What book are you currently reading?
“The History of Christendom, which is actually a series of six books. Only five are published — I’m waiting for the sixth. I just finished the fifth one: The French Revolution and Napoleon.”
Tell me about the book.
“The series is written by Warren Carroll, and he goes through the history of the world from the viewpoint of a Catholic Christian. He starts at creation. He doesn’t give it a date, but he basically tells you what the Bible says about creation. Then he starts at the first signs of civilization — Mesopotamia and Egypt. [Carroll] used to work for the CIA, and he was a founder of Christendom College and a history professor there.”
What do you make of the argument?
“He starts off — I don’t know if you’d call this an argument — saying that every writer is biased in some way. Everyone is coming from a worldview. His is a Catholic worldview, and just because he has a Catholic worldview does not mean he can’t be objective. I think [he does achieve that objectivity] because he does not make excuses for the sins of people that were supposed to be Christian. He never loses sight of the big picture. He does bring you into the details of a certain battle or political maneuver, but he doesn’t forget to step back every once in a while and remind you of the big picture: how does this event affect everything else, and why is it going on?”
Tell me about the style and language.
“I love the way he writes. He tries to stay chronological, like he’s narrating a story. It’s not a novel in the sense that he has quotation marks and dialogue going on, but it’s just as if he’s sitting next to you telling you this story of the history of Christendom. It’s very accessible, but it would be difficult for a high-schooler. If you love history, yeah, it’s accessible.”
Any favorite passages?
“There was a peasant uprising against the French Revolution in the Vendée. It started spontaneously, overnight, and many of their leaders were farmers. Many of their weapons were a pitchfork and a rosary. And their badge was the Sacred Heart. And they called themselves the Catholic and Royal Army. It’s not in all the history textbooks, but you can relate to it because it was just a bunch of farmers fighting to keep their religion legal. There’s no economic or political excuse as a reason for this uprising. The only thing that makes sense is they were just fighting for their religion. Although they didn’t succeed in worldly terms — they didn’t march into Paris and put down the Revolution — they put up a fight, and they distracted the revolutionary army enough that it shook them up a little bit and made the Revolution pay attention to them. The huge revolutionary army came in and routed and scattered [the uprising]. Pope John Paul visited the place once and called them martyrs.”
Compare this with other books you’ve read.
“I started [the series] because I was a slacker in high school and I need to make up for lost time. I’m trying to form my mind now because I didn’t do it before, and I figured history was a good place to start, so it’ll give me a context for the things I learn in the future.”
Who are your favorite authors?
“Warren Carroll. I like Tolkien, I like Hilaire Belloc. I read Brideshead Revisited; I liked that.”
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
“I don’t read newspapers or magazines. I get my news from Internet sites, like the ‘Drudge Report.’”
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
“I do. Somehow whatever I’m reading works itself into a conversation. A lot of times I’ll be reading this story, and it’s something extraordinary, it sounds like somebody’s writing a script, but then you’ll remember — hey, this thing’s real, this really happened. And I just get excited about that, and I go tell my roommates, ‘Can you believe this really happened?’ They’re usually very interested, and we just talk about why it happened, and they ask me questions, and I try to recall what I just read. So it’s a good refresher.”
Name: Darin Delozier | Age: 27 | Occupation: radio engineer
Neighborhood: La Mesa | Where interviewed: downtown La Mesa