Book Reviews, History, Reading

5 Cities that Ruled the World – FINAL REVIEW

I have no doubt that Douglas Wilson is a good man, and possibly even a great theologian and teacher. He has pastored Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, for many years; he is on faculty at New St. Andrews College; and he as debated Christopher Hitchens.

All that being said, his most recent book 5 Cities that Ruled the World is a poor reflection on his life of ministry. It is poorly edited and choppy, contains unsubstantiated historical myths (like the sowing of Carthage with salt) and by in large appears to be only superficially researched. There are huge tractates without so much as a footnote or indication of the source and then tiny, obscure references footnoted ad infinitum.

Rather than approach the subject of Judeo-Christian western civilization (which is what this book is actually about) objectively, I felt that Wilson came to the facts with a very definite agenda. He was going to prove that the entire history of the world revolves around the emergence of the ‘Christian nation’ of the United States.

I will give him credit; he tries to appear impartial; but the evidence is everywhere. This is a book with an agenda, and history is often made to reinforce that agenda whether it wants to or not.

If you want to know more specifics, you can check out my previous posts: post 1, post 2, and post 3.

2 thoughts on “5 Cities that Ruled the World – FINAL REVIEW”

  1. In response to Eric DiVietro: Not to defend shoddy scholarship if that is the case, but the idea that any historian writes history “agenda-less,” without an agenda, is frankly, extremely naive. History books are not a plain telling of facts, they are interpretation of facts. So, to criticize Mr. Wilson for lack of compelling sources is one thing, but to criticize him for having an agenda is like criticizing water for being wet. Of course he has an agenda. So do you. So does every writer of history.

  2. Perhaps I should have been more clear then. His agenda-driven approach allowed the author to take liberties with facts, omitting some and embellishing others. His bias was so strong that he ignored facts to make unsubstantiated points.

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