ON-Lion Letter
Encounter Books' new Treason of the Heart:  From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby, by David Pryce-Jones, is an account of British people who took up foreign causes.  Not mercenaries, but ideologues.  Almost all were what today we would call radicals or activists, who thought they knew better than whichever bunch of backward or oppressed people it was that they had come to save. 

Usually, they were applying to others what they saw as the benefits of their culture, and so obviously meritorious was their culture that they were prepared to be violent in imposing it.  Some genuinely hated their own country, however, and saw themselves promoting abroad the values their own retrograde government was blocking.

Pryce-Jones is a senior editor of National Review.  He is the author of 13 nonfiction books and 10 novels.

His Treason of the Heart deals with those like Thomas Paine who saw American independence as the surest means to hurt England; the many who hoped to spread the French revolution and then have Napoleon conquer England; historic characters like Lord Byron and Lawrence of Arabia who fought for the causes that brought them glory; and finally, those who took up Communism or Nazism.  The book is nothing less than a tale of intellectuals deluded about the effect of what they are doing -- and therefore with immediate reference to today's world.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.
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