Which Way Western Man The oldest of three children, William Gayley Simpson was born July 23, 1892, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He attended Lafayette College and graduated in 1912 with Phi Beta Kappa standing and as valedictorian. He attended Union Theological Seminary, graduating in 1915, magna cum laude



Between the covers of this book the world of the West is quietly weighed in the balance, and at many critical points found wanting. As long ago as 1920, I perceived that Western civilization was dying, as Rome was dying at the height of her Empire, and as many another civilization has died.


In time I came to see that we people of the West were sick not only in the outward conditions of our social and political life, not only in the decay of our character, in the decline of our intelligence, and in our loss of the control of our destiny, but in many respects in the very values and ideals on which we prided ourselves, by which we long shaped our course and thought to maintain our greatness.

I was too much like a man who has been thrown overboard in mid-ocean: I must find something to sustain me or I should drown. As against this, nothing else mattered.


Let people think about me what they liked: before I could ever again know where I was in the universe, I must find ground that I had reason to believe I could stand on, ground that I was sure would support me. Only then could I hold myself together, get my bearings, know in what direction to head, where to draw lines, with whom to take my stand, who were my friends and who my foes.


In short, only on this condition could I live. And it was some fifteen years of such research, experience, and reflection that finally resulted in the original manuscript of this book.