From Publishers Weekly
The Essential Neoconservative Reader, edited by Mark Gerson with a foreword by James Q. Wilson, lives up to its promise as "the definitive collection of neoconservative thought." Opening with Norman Podhoretz's controversial, legendary "My Negro Problem?and Ours," published in Commentary in 1963, the book includes Irving Kristol's "Human Nature and Social Reform" (Wall Street Journal, 1978), James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling's "Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety" (Atlantic, 1982), along with pieces by Michael Novak, Nathan Glazer, Thomas Sowell et al. (Addison-Wesley, $27.50 480p ISBN
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
During the 30 years between Kennedy and Gingrich, the political world witnessed the evolution and proliferation of a new political species: the neoconservatives. Strangers to the older conservatism of patrimony and tradition, neoconservatives are (with a few exceptions) liberals who have broken ranks, turning against a liberal orthodoxy that they find increasingly deceptive. Thus, it was mostly his fellow liberals that Norman Podhoretz offended with his famous 1963 essay "My Negro Problem--and Ours." Since the 1960s, numerous writers (including Nathan Glazer, Irving Kristol, Michael Novak, Jean Kirkpatrick, Richard John Neuhaus, Patrick Moynihan, and Thomas Sowell) have joined in the neoconservative ranks, but reaction against liberalism has never been enough to weld the group into a disciplined phalanx. Hence, readers will find no party-line formulas unifying the essays in this anthology. But Gerson has done an excellent job of assembling pieces that illustrate the neoconservatives' tough-minded resistance to feel-good politics. It is a tough-mindedness that requires readers to confront modern dilemmas with a new honesty. Bryce Christensen