• The Unbroken Thread

  • Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos
  • By: Sohrab Ahmari
  • Narrated by: Sohrab Ahmari
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (205 ratings)

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The Unbroken Thread

By: Sohrab Ahmari
Narrated by: Sohrab Ahmari
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Publisher's Summary

We’ve pursued and achieved the modern dream of defining ourselves - but at what cost? An influential columnist and editor makes a compelling case for seeking the inherited traditions and ideals that give our lives meaning.

“Ahmari’s tour de force makes tradition astonishingly vivid and relevant for the here and now.” (Rod Dreher, best-selling author of Live Not by Lies and The Benedict Option)

As a young father and a self-proclaimed “radically assimilated immigrant,” opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari realized that when it comes to shaping his young son’s moral fiber, today’s America is woefully lacking. For millennia, the world’s great ethical and religious traditions have taught that true happiness lies in pursuing virtue and accepting limits. But now, unbound from these stubborn traditions, we are free to choose whichever way of life we think is most optimal - or, more often than not, merely the easiest. All that remains are the fickle desires that a wealthy, technologically advanced society is equipped to fulfill.

The result is a society riven by deep conflict and individual lives that, for all their apparent freedom, are marked by alienation and stark unhappiness.

In response to this crisis, Ahmari offers twelve questions for us to grapple with - 12 timeless, fundamental queries that challenge our modern certainties. Among them: Is God reasonable? What is freedom for? What do we owe our parents, our bodies, one another? Exploring each question through the lives and ideas of great thinkers, from Saint Augustine to Howard Thurman and from Abraham Joshua Heschel to Andrea Dworkin, Ahmari invites us to examine the hidden assumptions that drive our behavior and, in doing so, to live more humanely in a world that has lost its way.

©2021 Sohrab Ahmari (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A formidable combination of storytelling and philosophy that might change your life.” (The Times)

“[Ahmari] is a master storyteller.... Readers of Sohrab Ahmari’s new book will be grateful to him for reminding us of how serious the loss [of our traditions] could turn out to be.” (First Things

“Ahmari’s elegantly written book matters because it seeks to give moral voice to what so far has mainly been a populist scream against the values of elite liberalism.” (Bret Stephens, The New York Times

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What listeners say about The Unbroken Thread

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One of the books I'll pass on to my children

I have 3 sons (and was graced with a daughter Feb. 2020). On their 16th birthday, this is the book I will ask them to read. Ahmari's brand of biography mixed with sound theology and philosophy makes for an experience that only a journalist and Catholic convert could take you on. As a Catholic convert myself (convert is a dumb word, I'm completing, not converting) I have, for the last 2 years, been steadily walking back through time, to ages past, meeting heroes I never knew about. There is no greater metaphor for this than a thread. A long, unbroken thread. I was especially impressed with his beautiful, ecumenical take on Christians, Jews and pagans who have shaped the world. There is value in learning from those who searched hard for the good, the true and the beautiful, even if they never quite found it in this life.

Sidenote: I've listened to roughly 60 books on audible over the last 2 years, Ahmari's narration was spectacular. I never once had to click the "back 30 seconds" button because my mind had wandered. I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it his boyish charm? His cadence? His fatherly love? All 3? Probably.

Perhaps we need a new word for these journalists that aren't quite theologians or philosophers. Ahmari's curiosity is on fully display here, as is his devotion & faith. Curiosologians? Curilosphers?

7 people found this helpful

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Must read.

Beautifully written and packed with age-old wisdom. From Confucius to Seneca, the author points out that there's nothing new under the sun.

4 people found this helpful

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The wisdom of submitting to limits

The book is outstanding. A grateful immigrant's fears for the culture of his new country and how it will chisel the character or soul of his little son. He draws brilliantly on the lives and worldviews of his representative characters, drawn from across the political and ideological spectrum, to define his worries about the spiritual poverty of the kind of materialistic, affluent but empty world he sees as a likely future for his son. In face of the difficulties of the task today, Ahmari will do his best to equip the boy with the spiritual resources he will need to flourish. He helps us think about what our life and our freedom are for by telling stories and asking questions. Thereby he will help his son - and his readers - discover the wisdom of tradition.

3 people found this helpful

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A Tour de force

I wish everyone would read this book, because i believe my life has been enhanced by the novel perspectives it imparts from ancient civilizations & various religious & philosophical traditions. And I learned about fascinating historical figures that I never knew. But the book is, honestly, not accessible to everyone. It required the full attention of all my brain cells. Ahmari is a dazzling intellect who has to work hard to keep his discourse on the level of average humans. Howver he is also an engaging story teller & that's what makes this brainy book such a delight. Loved this Audible presentation which features the author, himself, reading.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Just amazing. I can’t say that enough. I listened to it over 3 days and may do it again. Inspiring.

2 people found this helpful

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Grateful

The book is so good and sincere. It is so appropriate for our world right now. I hope that a great number of people-young and old will be able to get their hands on this book. I learned a lot and it answered a lot of my questions about life and my family. Now, I have to buy the real book now so I have a hard copy to loan to friends and family. More power to you.

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  • 03-23-22

Outstanding

A must read for dads and anyone concerned to live rightly and happily with family, friends and so on.

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A critical new but ancient response

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.
This book surmises the ancient thought in several cultures that made civilizations great and able to endure great challenges.
This book is a fantastic read for anyone who thinks that something is just not right, that things are falling apart, that the center could not hold.

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Worth listening to and pondering

Writing excellent. Each character/topic addressed adeptly but lacks overall coherent tie. Worth listening to.

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Buy the physical book!

This was a very interesting book which contains a lot of deep thinking. There are some books that you simply must hold in your hand, to be able to absorb all of the information, re-read key points and even highlight key portions. This is one of those books. Very informative in the history realm explaining the threads that weave us together.