Bruce Thornton

Bruce Thornton

Research Fellow

Bruce S. Thornton, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, grew up on a cattle ranch in Fresno County, California. He received his BA in Latin from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1975, as well as his PhD in comparative literature–Greek, Latin, and English–in 1983. Thornton is currently a professor of classics and humanities at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of nine books on a variety of topics, including Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization; Searching for Joaquin: Myth, Murieta, and History in California; with Victor Davis Hanson, Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age; Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow-Motion Suicide; and most recently The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama's America. His numerous essays and reviews on Greek culture and civilization and their influence on Western civilization, as well as on other contemporary political and educational issues, have appeared in both scholarly journals and magazines such as the New Criterion, Commentary, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Claremont Review of Books. Thornton is also a regular contributor to online magazines such as City Journal and Advancing a Free Society. He has lectured at many colleges and universities and at venues such as the Smithsonian Institute, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Army War College, and the Air Force Academy; he has also appeared on television on the History Channel and ABC’s Politically Incorrect. His next book, to be released in July 2014 by the Hoover Institution Press, is titled Democracy's Dangers and Discontents: The Tyranny of the Majority from the Greeks to Obama.

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Recent Commentary

Covenants without Swords?

by Bruce Thorntonvia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, April 15, 2010

President Obama has been fulfilling his campaign promise to restore diplomacy, including “engagement” with our enemies, to American foreign policy.

Professor Bruce Thornton of Cal State Fresno

Peter Robinson interviews Fresno State Classicist Bruce Thornton about his new book Decline and Fall: Europe's Slow Suicide.

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Bruce Thorntonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, March 10, 2008

In his new book, Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide, Bruce Thornton asserts that Europe has turned its back on the Western tradition to which it owes its greatness. It has abandoned pride in the nation, discarded traditional Christianity, and, in so doing, is without unifying values, ideals, and beliefs. But if Europe is still democratic, and if it still embraces the free market, why should anyone care that Judaeo-Christian religious beliefs are slipping away. The answer lies in the coinciding rise of radical Islam. (35:45) Video transcript

IS HOMER DEAD? Teaching the Classics

with Page duBois, Bruce Thorntonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, September 28, 2001

Does Homer still matter? For more than 2000 years, the ancient Greeks and Romans have had a special place in the canon of western civilization and their writings have been studied by generation after generation of scholars and students. But are the classics still relevant in twenty-first century, multi-cultural America? Or are the ancient Greeks of no more importance to us than other ancient cultures such as the Aztecs, Egyptians, or Chinese?

Related Commentary

Who Possesses Nuclear Weapons, Not the Weapons, Is the Question

by Bruce Thorntonvia Strategika

Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have attracted an apocalyptic glamour that has confused and distorted the strategic calculations that should determine their production and deployment. The same sort of irrational response greeted the development of bombers in the 20s and 30s, when lurid scenarios of the civilization-ending power of strategic bombing––popularized in novels like H.G. Wells’ Things to Come and exploited by pacifists––convinced British military planners and politicians that they should avoid war at all costs, for as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin famously, and erroneously, proclaimed to the “man in the street,” “There is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed,” for “the bomber will always get through.”

Related Commentary

Democracies Like Military Cuts

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage