A Brave Voice Against the Barbarians

David Pryce-Jones is the watchman of the Cold War. He is the personification of that haunting and enigmatic passage in Isaiah: “He calleth to me out of Seir, ‘Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?’ The Watchman said, ‘The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come.’”

Now 84, Pryce-Jones has spent his long life reminding us about the night of the last century and warning us of the night to come in this one. If we choose to inquire about the darkness, he has a great deal to tell us, much of it from personal experience. Unyielding, unchanging, he bids us return to the ramparts to defend our civilisation against the barbarians — not only those without, but especially those within.

Having had his first taste of chaos as a small child, abandoned by his parents in occupied France and eventually repatriated with the help of a good nanny, Pryce-Jones knows that in this world, survival often depends on the accidents of birth and marriage, the kindness of strangers and the grace of God. He has been fortunate in all three — and especially in his marriage to Clarissa, who has piloted him through all the vicissitudes with which a contrarian must contend.

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