The Lost History of Western Civilization

The Lost History of Western Civilization is a wide-ranging consideration of the academy’s role in producing America’s contemporary political and cultural divisions. The report traces the ways in which the 1988 controversy over the teaching of Western Civilization at Stanford set the pattern for today’s “Cold Civil War.”

The report is also an extended case-study in the follies and limitations of deconstructionist, multiculturalist, postmodern, and intersectional thinking. The report refutes a landmark scholarly “deconstruction” of Western Civilization, throwing new light on American history and exposing the incoherence of academic postmodernism in the process.

Early Praise for The Lost History of Western Civilization

"Stanley Kurtz revitalizes the study of Western Civilization as a valid foundation for understanding the world we live in.” 

— Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor Emeritus of American History, Oxford University

"The Lost History of Western Civilization is a badly-needed correction to our historical understanding of the West. Stanley Kurtz meticulously shows how a politically- motivated thesis about Western Civilization has been a rationale for emptying the curriculum of our greatest cultural inheritance. In casting Western Civilization as a fabrication of imperialists and warmongers of the early-20th century, the thesis discredited the whole enterprise of handing down to students the legacy of Plato, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante, Milton, et al. It was a false depiction, as Kurtz shows, but it has altered education since the 1980s—and for the worse. This report points the way toward restoring a proper appreciation of the Western tradition, and rightful pride in it.” 

— Mark Bauerlein, Senior Editor, First Things

"Stanley Kurtz has here performed an admirable and much-need work of intellectual excavation, a work of scholarship that is also a contribution to the health of our common life. He has brought to light some of the chief ways in which the concept of ‘Western civilization’ has come to be first misconceived and then abandoned, and laid out the negative consequences of that abandonment. The Lost History of Western Civilization offers a way back from our errors, toward a more conscious reappropriation of a rich and complex heritage that is the source of so much that we prize about our way of life—including even our penchant for self-examination and self-criticism. That Western heritage remains the shared ground on which we stand. We need to recognize it as such, and own the fact.”

— Wilfred McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, The University of Oklahoma

"Stanley Kurtz has written a report that could well serve as a script for a documentary drama. In hunting for the Lost History of Western Civilization, our guide leads us, step by step, through the arcane corridors of higher education into a diseased world of activist professors, narcissistic students, and feckless administrators, promoters not of knowledge, but of nihilistic nescience and benumbing groupthink. The situation imperils the very survival of a free society. This clear and powerful exposé deserves a wide audience, for, as the report suggests, likely remedies lie not with boards of trustees, but with the citizenry.”

— Robert Paquette, President, The Alexander Hamilton Institute