Brad Birzer

Photo on 9-4-14 at 11.51 AMNormally, I hold the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and am Professor of History at Hillsdale College, Michigan.  I proudly serve on the boards of the Free Enterprise Institute and The Center for Cultural Renewal.  I am also happily a “Fellow” and/or “Scholar” with the Foundation for Economic Education, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The McConnell Center, and the Center for Economic Personalism (Brazil).  In 2010, I co-founded The Imaginative Conservative website, and, in 2012, I co founded, a site dedicated to the exploration of music in all of its various forms.  I also write for Ignatius Insight, Catholic World Report, and CatholicVote.  In 1990, I earned my B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and, in 1998, I earned my PhD from Indiana University.  I have had the great privilege to study with such excellent scholars as R. David Edmund, Bernard Sheehan, Russ Hanson, Anne Butler, Walter Nugent, Greg Dowd, and Marvin O’Connell.

I am author of several books (please see below) and scholarly articles.

For the 2014-2015 school year, I had the wonderful honor of being the “Scholar in Residence” and “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy,” University of Colorado-Boulder.  I loved it.

I have lots of other loves: human liberty and dignity; baking; cooking; playing Legos with my kids; hiking and backpacking in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of North America; good writing; Christian Humanism; Apple products; and progressive rock and progressive jazz.


My books:

In Defense of Andrew Jackson. Forthcoming Autumn 2018; can preorder now.

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Russell Kirk: American Conservative (2015).  Available at

Winner of the 2016 Paolucci Book Prize.

Named best book of the year by The American Conservative and The Imaginative Conservative.

A Michigan 2016 Notable Book.

Positively reviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and First Things.


J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth (2003)

  • Reviewed or featured favorably in Wall Street Journal, First Things, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and National Review Online.
  • Interviewed for Mars Hill Audio, on over 20 radio programs, many of them national, and for several publications (New York Times, Boston Globe, Denver Post, Christianity Today Online, National Catholic Register) regarding Tolkien.
  • The Houghton Mifflin/Tolkien Estate-sponsored, two-volume Tolkien Companion (December 2006) lists Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth as “particularly useful for an appreciation of Tolkien’s life and works.”
  • Second best-selling book for ISI Books.

“Mr. Birzer’s excellent new book is the latest in a bumper crop of studies — including those by Kurt Bruner, Joseph Pearce, Mark Eddy Smith and Jim Ware — that plumb the religious meaning of Middle Earth. Thanks in part to them, it has become increasingly obvious that Tolkien deserves a place alongside T.S. Eliot, Russell Kirk and C.S. Lewis as one of the 20th century’s great Christian humanists.”

–John J. Miller, “Myth at the Multiplex,” Wall Street Journal (Dec. 2, 2002).

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Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson (2007)

  • Named the best book of 2008 by Joseph Pearce; named a top 11 book of 2008 by the National Catholic Register.
  • Reviewed favorably by a number of periodicals including National Review, National Catholic Register, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
  • Christendom Press’s best-selling book.

“In highlighting the importance of imagination to Dawson’s historical thinking, Birzer has performed a signal service to the better understanding of Dawson’s thought.  And in this work as a whole, the author has succeeded in crafting a superbly researched and convincing intellectual and spiritual biography.”

–James Person, “The Full History,” National Review (April 7, 2008).

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American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (2010)

  • Reviewed favorably by a number of periodicals, including First Things and Weekly Standard.
  • National Book of the Month, Knights of Columbus, August 2010.

“It is to imagine a work more scrupulously faithful to Kirk’s spirit. . . . Birzer rightly presents Carroll as the proper object of deep interest and admiration.”–Stefan McDaniel, First Things, August-September 2010.

American Cicero is an excellent short biography, focusing mostly on Carroll’s ‘liberal and religious’ education.”–Patrick Walsh, Weekly Standard, August 16, 2010.

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Catholics in the Public Square (DVD Course–Catholic Courses; 2013)

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7 Comments on “Brad Birzer

  1. Professor Birzer,
    I want to thank you for the most insightful, entertaining, provocative, and educational series of lectures on the American West. I have never heard someone so passionately convey American Western culture and history so eloquently and intelligently as you have. Brilliant work, I look forward to your upcoming book on Russell Kirk.
    Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Video: Bradley J. Birzer on Russell Kirk - American Conservative | Acton PowerBlog

  3. Thank you Professor Birzer for your helpful, clarifying works on CD and JRRT!
    I have just finished — after an inwardly pleasant few days of reading and insight, for which thank to you (and the reading will have left longer lasting understanding of course) — JRRT’s Sanctifying Myth.
    Not finding a proper personal email address for you, I want to express my thanks especially for Sanctifying Myth, and to ask a question: I do not get the impression that JRRT was ever, or ever went through, a period of deep, and certainly not “devastating”, doubt as to the veracity of the Roman Catholic faith. Some do of course, and return again, or come new, to belief, but…
    Was he never really troubled or disturbed in the course of his biographical and intellectual life by real, deep doubt? did he never approach the inner and intellectual realities leading to or near Bertrand Russell’s grounds for and position (condition?) of “unyielding despair”? did all the deep social and intellectual doubts of the 19th century pass JRRT by, or he pass them by?
    To ask it another way: what did he think of Nietzsche’s “madman”, or did he just leave all such aside?

  4. Dr. Birzer,

    Just finished the Sci Fi lectures (I and II) on Liberty Classroom. Wonderful and educational. Looking forward to Lecture III. Many thanks and cheers.


  5. Hello Prof. Birzer. I am so pleased to come across this web page. Actually my brother, Tim, sent it to me. Both he and I feel quite in awe and proud to have been your friend during our formative years. No surprise you are where you are today. You were always brilliant. And fun! Can’t wait to start reading your books! Shannon O’S

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