Reading Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson was much like taking a trip out to sea with a definite destination in mind, but with no real hurry in reaching it. You explore a wide area on your way to the destination, and when any landmark captures your attention, you investigate. You do reach your destination, yet after many fascinating detours.
As was said of Why Men Hate Going to Church, Father Hunger too is a start, a beginning of an important discussion. Perhaps that is why Douglas Wilson takes a meandering course in his investigation of fatherhood and the many challenges it faces. He wants to start a conversation, not give decisive answers to the issues he raises.
Written from a view that could be loosely labeled “conservative Christian,” Wilson attempts to distinguish himself from mainstream political conservatism. He really is Chestertonian in his economic discussions, which I was surprised to find in this volume. Wilson presents a clear interpretation of G. K. Chesterton’s distributism, and claims in the end that it is real capitalism, compared to the “crony” capitalism of today’s America. Indeed, I judge that Wilson’s economic presentation is the most straightforward part of the book. Wilson does meander like the sailboat and cover a wide range of issues. He also tends to spin interesting verbal images that once unraveled leave the reader wondering whether terseness would be more effective.
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