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Editor's Note

Our lead interview with author Amity Shlaes about the Great Depression and its various interpreters has obvious parallels to the often heated debate about what has caused the financial crisis of 2008-09. In The Forgotten Man, a superb examination of the history of the Depression and the mythologies that have grown up around it, Shlaes makes important connections for us. In speaking of the “forgotten man” she says, “Our own children and grandchildren are forgotten men because they will pay the taxes in the future that will result from our over expansion today.”

Executive editor John Couretas contributes a review of two books about Byzantium, an often forgotten empire by those in the West. He takes a look at The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies which has multiple editors, and Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire by Judith Herrin. In reviewing these works, Couretas adds valuable insight to Byzantium’s importance and compliments Herrin’s work by saying, [she] “sheds light on an amazing European culture that for too long in the West has been cast into the shadowy recesses of history.”

Dr. Jay Richards has penned an important and very readable defense of the free market for Christians with his new book Money, Greed, and God. Our managing editor Ray Nothstine has written an analysis of Richards’s book that highlights so many essential defenses of the free market, especially when compared to other economic structures. Nothstine makes the point that “the overarching strength of Richards’s work is how he places the free-market message into the context of Christian discussions and debate.” This is indeed important because there is a desperate need for an even greater moral framework to our markets and our businesses, given some of the causes of the financial crisis. In fact, all of society needs a greater measure of moral clarity and strength.

The health care reform debate in the United States is understandably making headlines, and for some it even serves as an inspiration for getting involved in the democratic process. It is appropriate that we offer an excellent excerpt from Dr. Donald P. Condit’s new Acton monograph titled, A Christian Prescription for Health Care Reform. Dr. Condit is an orthopedic surgeon in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lastly we have two discussions about Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Dr. Samuel Gregg and Rev. Robert Sirico offer their thoughts on an encyclical that speaks to the very importance of morality and ethics in the market.