Books in Brief

From Fire, by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith, by Sohrab Ahmari (San Francisco: Ignatius Press; 240 pp., $22.95). Sohrab Ahmari: Iranian immigrant, Roman Catholic convert, conservative, New York Post editor, and professional David French critic. In May, Ahmari garnered criticism and notoriety for his essay “Against David French-ism,” published in First Things, in which he argued for a new conservative consensus that asserts social conservatism and Christian tradition in the “neutral spaces” of the public sphere. A former Marxist, Ahmari understands the left’s mission to dominate public spaces and institutions. Now, as a Catholic, he advocates a reconquista of the forum in the name of America’s Christian heritage. The 35-year-old London-based Iranian-American journalist’s most recent book, From Fire, by Water, details his philosophical journey from Nietzsche, through Marx, to Christ.

As a child in Iran, Ahmari, like his urbane parents, saw America as a beacon of rationalism, a potential refuge from religious ideology. He recounts, however, that upon moving from Tehran to Utah with his divorced mother at age 13, his contrarian spirit prevailed over his innate intelligence. Ahmari would spend the next decade attempting to spite his Mormon acquaintances by smoking, drinking, and reading Marxist literature. He regrets that “if only I had known...

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