begin with is virtually to assure that theyrnwill mean nothing to the reciter, deniedrnthe time to ponder their meaning accordingrnto his own resources or desires.”rnFinally, Buckley notes, reform, whetherrnor not it has succeeded in inspiriting thernMass, has certainly not brought convertsrnto the Church; instead the size of thernlaity has decreased, and so has the numberrnof clergy. The convention of VaticanrnII, he concludes, was regarded thenrn”as the perfect time to persuade ourselvesrnthat the Council was being guided byrnthe Holy Spirit. It gave some of usrnpause.”rnWhile reform of itself has not broughtrnconverts, those elements of the Churchrnthat remain resistant to or are divinely incapablernof change have won over a goodrnmany in recent decades, quite a few ofrnthem men and women of large talentsrnand great intellectual powers. And justrnas belief is of greater compelling humanrninterest than doubt, so new faith —especiallyrnin times like the present—is perhapsrnmore fascinating still. Mr. Buckley,rnaccordingly, convened a forum of convertsrn—Jeffrey Hart, Father Richard JohnrnNeuhaus, Father George Rutler, WickrnAllison, Ernest van den Haag, and, fromrnbeyond the grave, the spirit of RussellrnKirk—to serve as a kind of Greek chorusrncommenting on the author’s own theologicalrnreflections and obsessions, includingrnthe Lunnian phase of their personalrnconversions as well as certainrnunpopular Church teachings currentlyrnunder scrutiny and even fire: priestlyrncelibacy, the male priesthood, the indissolubilityrnof the marriage bond, and thernprohibition of birth control.rnFaith, finally, is apprehension, whatrnwe have from God instead of knowledge;rneven more, it is experience. Therefore,rnin a book that is truly more personal thanrnit might at first glance appear to be, Mr.rnBuckley includes moving accounts ofrncertain of his own experiences of placesrnand events—Lourdes; the ordination ofrnhis nephew, Michael Bozell, in thernBenedictine monastery at Solesmes —rnand of people —Malcolm Muggeridge;rnhis mother, Aloise Steiner Buckley —rnthat have provided him with his privaternepiphanies. Because it is by seeing ofrnthis sort, as much as by believing, that allrnof us who dwell within the Body ofrnChrist may say with gratitude to God thatrnwe are shll Catholics.rnChilton Williamson, Jr., is the senior editorrnfor books at Chronicles.rnYoung Americansrnfor Freedomrnby Philip JenkinsrnObedient Sons: The Discourse ofrnYouth and Generations in AmericanrnCulture, 1630-1860rnby Glenn WallachrnAmherst: University of MassachusettsrnPress; 288 pp., $29.95rnObedient Sons begins by remindingrnus how thoroughly the language ofrngenerations pervades our sense of modernrnAmerican history, which is after allrnthe story of the “Lost Generation, BeatrnGeneration, generation gap. GenerationrnX.” But the whole concept of generationsrnis a relatively modern device whichrncarries a vast range of social and politicalrnimplications, in particular the assumptionrnthat each successive “rising generation”rnwill inevitably resist the hideboundrnrestraints of its predecessor. Not coincidentally,rnthe modern talk of insurgentrn”generations” owes much to the Americanrndiscovery of Freud and his Oedipalrntheories. Dr. Wallach, however, showsrnthat this cultural baggage is by no meansrnthe only freight that can be borne by generationalrnrhetoric, and that, in earlyrnAmerica, concepts of youth and generationrnwere more commonly used to supportrnconservative notions of continuityrnand tradition.rnLinked to this conservatism was thernfear of decline which pervades so muchrnof American history. If America trulyrnwas established as “a city upon a hill,” arnNew Israel, then it would often encounterrnthe possibility that the “risingrngeneration” would fail to meet the mark,rnthat the sons of the Pilgrim fathers wouldrnaccept a life of spiritual ease, and forsakernthe inner struggle; the sons of the FoundingrnFathers would betray the ideals of thernnew republic, which would fade into arnpallid facsimile of decadent Europe.rnAvoiding this fate required each newrnage-cohort to act resolutely to guard therndeposit of national faith, though this determinationrnmight manifest itself differentlyrnin different epochs. In the 18thrncentury, the need to rekindle ancestralrnfires resulted in the spate of religious revivals,rnabove all the events of the I730’srnand 1740’s, which aimed to stir a generationrnfallen into spiritual torpor, “at easernin Zion.” A century later, fears for thernsecular republic resulted in the movementrnknown as ‘Toung America,” whichrnhas rarely attracted the attention of historiansrnfamiliar with similarly named Europeanrnmovements —”Young Italy,” orrneven Disraeli’s short-lived ‘Young England.”rnThe ‘Young America” concept is herernemployed as a fruitful means of approachingrnsuch otherwise familiar topicsrnas the Transcendentalists and the Americanrnrenaissance in literature, and thernemergence of a radical American nationalismrnin the political thought of thernI830’s and 1840’s. In 1845, “YoungrnAmerica” aspired to “plant its right footrnupon the northern verge of Oregon andrnits left upon the Atlantic crag.” “ManifestrnDestiny” was designed precisely forrnthis younger generation: it was of coursernthe “young man” who was urged to relocaternwest. In John Ford’s classic filmrnYoung Mr. Lincoln (1939), there is a brilliantrnscene in which Lincoln, in the mid-rnI830’s, witnesses a patriotic parade. Arncart bears a treasured handful of ancientrnmen in threadbare uniforms, and Lincolnrnis proudly told that these are the veteransrnof the Revolution. The galvanizingrnreminder that he receives of thernnation’s original purpose is exactiy what,rnin Wallach’s view, stimulated so many ofrnLincoln’s contemporaries in these samernyears.rnA key idea of the book is the notion ofrnhow each generation berates itself forrnfailing to live up to the ideals of its fathers,rna damning charge seemingly usedrnwith great frequency in any number ofrnpolitical contexts. Wallach shows howrnthese ideas were reinforced by religiousrnrhetoric — which was completely suffrisedrnby the thought and imagery of thernOld Testament—in which the ultimaternaspiration expressed was that one mightrnbe worthy to be buried with one’s fathers.rnThroughout, we find recurrent irony inrnthe new and virile “young” movementrnreturning to ancestial tiaditions by challengingrnthe complacency of the old.rn(The revivalists of the 1740’s and I790’srnwere generally young men contemptuousrnof their timid elders, while ‘YoungrnAmerica” even popularized the phrasern”old fogeys.”) The aim, it seems, wasrnto return to an idealized heroic past,rnwithout being too discommoded byrnthe genuine graybeards still walkingrnaround.rnObedient Sons is a model of how so-rnJANUARY 1998/25rnrnrn