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Publisher's Summary

After the staggering slaughter of back-to-back world wars, the West embraced the ideal of the "open society". The promise: By liberating ourselves from the old attachments to nation, clan, and religion that had fueled centuries of violence, we could build a prosperous world without borders, freed from dogmas and managed by experts.  

But the populism and nationalism that are upending politics in America and Europe are a sign that after three generations, the postwar consensus is breaking down. With compelling insight, R. R. Reno argues that we are witnessing the return of the "strong gods" - the powerful loyalties that bind men to their homeland and to one another.  

Reacting to the calamitous first half of the 20th century, our political, cultural, and financial elites promoted open borders, open markets, and open minds. But this never-ending project of openness has hardened into a set of anti-dogmatic dogmas that destroy the social solidarity rooted in family, faith, and nation. While they worry about the return of fascism, our societies are dissolving.

©2019 R. R. Reno (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Return of the Strong Gods

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Mandatory reading for disenchanted souls

Written for those who see the world seemingly falling apart around them and are wondering, "how did we get here?" A well documented dive into the history of modern liberalism, the rejection of beauty, order, and tradition, and replacing them with ever greater openness, diversity, and fluidity, where and how it went wrong, and what we can expect in the future.

6 people found this helpful

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Good book

Excellent overview of what's wrong with the western mindset labeled as the post war consensus. There's a good education within for non-traditional "free market" obsessed capitalist conservatives and libertarians as well as liberal progressives to be educated on the obscene overlap between their ideological failings. Traditionalists will not find much new information here but as far as having everything laid out nicely in one relatively short audiobook it's well worth your support and a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Mandatory reading

A refreshing take on the current political structure and how America/civilization got to where it is.

2 people found this helpful

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Introducing the destructive post-WWII consensus.

I grew up with the idea that openness and inclusion is a higher good, but early I realised that when I am grown up I will have no place to call home.
R.R. Reno actually makes clear this awareness. That this homelessness I saw, (...in my case, it was storming at me as the post-Coldwar liberal hegemony formed my country), is real and even as a fairly successful consumer performer I will still have no place to call the home of my actual and complete social being. As the softness of the "inclusion and openness" dissolve all homes, I understand better why so many people, like me, will be asking who or what will rule this soft kingdom of zombified individuals surviving like bacteria? R.R. Reno makes it clear that the post-WWII consensus is most probably the worldly author of this world I have grown into.

1 person found this helpful

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Great framework for understanding our current predicament

I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this book. It’s description of the “open society” consensus that formed after the turbulent years of WWI through WWII was something I hadn’t heard of or considered before. However it seems accurate and explains a lot about what has happened since then, and the troubled times we live in now. It also provides some hope in the idea of returning to “the strong gods” that the open society proponents tried to do away with.

The people that have been pushing the open society are basically globalists, but the term “globalist” is such a loaded term now that I don’t like to use it. This book gave me less loaded language to discuss the issue

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Strong critical review with weak conclusion

The author does a fine job reviewing and making accessible his select intellectual history of the postwar “open” mind movement. This is the book’s strength. When Reno pivots to his prescriptive response he leaves his scholarly self behind and depends on unsubstantiated and unpersuasive biases. The book is well worth reading for it’s critical review which will lead readers like me to conclude. Contrary to Reno, that openness is desirable for the advanced civilization we all hope America will become.

1 person found this helpful

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Essential for saving the west

This book shows how individualism of the modern era erases the beauty from this world. In my opinion it should be mandatory in political science degrees in universitys.