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Dead Right Paperback – April 7, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (April 7, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465098258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465098255
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,938,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Published in conjunction with the 100th day of the congressional season, Frum's book looks at the future of conservatism.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Why did the hoped-for new Republican majority never materialize despite the party's electoral success in the 1980s? Drawing on interviews with party leaders, pollsters, direct mail specialists, and journalists, Forbes columnist Frum paints a picture of a party that forgot its historic conservative message in order to position itself in the middle of the American political road. Noting that the government grew apace under Reagan and Bush despite rhetoric to the contrary, Frum takes Reagan to task for letting entitlements get out of hand and criticizes Bush's federal aid programs as more big government. Frum contends that the GOP's job is to reduce federal bureaucracy to the minimum size feasible under present political conditions. Aiming at that goal will spell success for the party. Philosophically deep and politically cogent, this is recommended for academic and larger political science collections.
Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Baker on April 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
David Frum is a conservative not afraid to give blunt, constructive criticism to his fellows. In "Dead Right", he questions whether the Republican coalition has actually made any progress toward reducing the size and scope of the federal government. In spite of good intentions, he determines very little progress has been made because the GOP is unwilling to incur the pain of telling people what they don't want to hear, which is that moving from a self-reliant nation to a welfare state has damaged our national character.
The contrast between self-reliance and welfarism is the key insight of the book. Frum points out that negative behaviors like divorce, single parenthood, promiscuity, drug abuse, and chronic unemployment are now subsidized by the state and therefore have ballooned to nearly unmanageable proportions.
He realizes that actual budget and program cuts carry a heavy political price. Regardless, he believes conservatives should pay the price of unpopularity and speak the truth in hopes of someday winning a real victory, rather than a pyrrhic one where office is held, but nothing can be done.
In an interesting sideline, Frum takes time to survey the thinking of isolationist "paleoconservatives" who resent the current influence of the liberal-turned-conservative internationist "neo-cons" who changed allegiance during the Cold War. The intramural dispute is very interesting and extremely current with today's events.
Frum is one of the few writers who combines statistical analysis with insider history of the movement to create a dazzling policy book. This is one analysis that doesn't read like a stale pamphlet full of bullet points you've heard a million times. Besides that, Frum is probably the most talented conservative writing today. Pick up "Dead Right" and "How We Got Here: The Seventies" to see for yourself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
There were two reasons I read this book. The first is that if you read a lot of political books covering the last 20 years then there is a good chance this book as come up in the text. It always gets good reviews and is held out as the book that will tell you exactly how the far right thinks. The second reason was that I heard the author speak recently and found him interesting and oddly engaging. To offer full disclosure I lean a bit left of the moderate political line so my reading of the book was not to reaffirm my beliefs but to explore the views of the author. Even though I disagree with a number of the authors stances on items I have to give him credit, he is up front about all his views. In reading the book you really get a sense of the man, maybe even more so then the conservative movement he is describing.

So the topic of the book is looking at how the Reagan and Bush 1 administrations, although based in conservative thought, moved to a moderate governing style. The bench mark he primarily bases this theory on is that the size of the federal government has increased over the 12 year Reagan / Bush terms. The author basically tells us what we know. And that is it is very difficult to obtain political popularity if you are dishing out harsh medicine. Of course the Reagan / Bush administrations kept the pork barrel and program growth going, hey it pays the popularity bills. What I found so stark about this section was just how up front the author was. Most politicians talk about curbing growth or eliminating waste, key words to do nothing, but Frum goes out there and lays out all the items he would get rid of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yalensian VINE VOICE on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Written in the "dark" years between the defeat of George H. W. Bush in 1992 and the Republican "revolution" of 1994, David Frum's book takes stock of the conservative movement, with a particular eye toward the successes and failures of the Reagan administration. On that score, Frum is somewhat negative but, for the most part, accurate: "the great temptation of the Reagan years: to attempt to use government for conservative purposes rather than to push it back within its proper limits." It is a temptation -- indeed, an unfortunate reality -- with which conservatives still struggle.

The book occasionally feels somewhat dated. The issues of 1993 and 1994 are not the issues of today, and the conservative movement has evolved since then. Still, Frum's division of the movement, roughly, into "optimists" (Jack Kemp) "moralists" (Bill Bennett), and "nationalists" (Pat Buchanan) succeeds in capturing the flavor of the moment -- and in bringing home to the modern reader just how much things have changed, even as remnants of those divisions remain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. A. Tennant on September 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not available in Kindle so I ordered a soft-cover edition.

In all cases, the "i" was not dotted and many periods were missing. It became such a chore to read that I stopped.

What portions I did read were interesting in that Frum predicted Jack Kemp was going to win the GOP nomination for president in 1996. Of course, it was Bob Dole (and what a splendid campaign he ran).

Frum also touted conservative ideas that were popular at that time, but which have proven to be disastrous after eight years of the Bush administration.

Also funny to read were the tributes on the cover praising the book as a classic by the very people who would stab Frum in the back in 2010 as a turncoat Republican.
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