This fascinating book by one of America's leading public intellectuals spans nearly half a century of writing, with essays on sex, politics, and religion. Irving Kristol has long been considered the godfather of neoconservatism, a political persuasion that breathed intellectual life into the moribund Republican Party during the 1970s and helped make Ronald Reagan's ascendancy possible. But because Kristol spent the bulk of his career in the highbrow journalistic world of essays and commentary, he never authored a full book that defines his mode of thinking or traces its development. This collection of essays is the closest thing there is, and it's a real treat: smart, often counterintuitive, and full of good writing. As Kristol notes on the opening pages, "An intellectual who didn't write struck me as only half an intellectual." And Kristol is clearly a full intellectual. Much of the writing here has appeared elsewhere--in Commentary
, where Kristol served as an editor; The Wall Street Journal
, where he regularly contributes to the op-ed page; and The Public Interest
, which he founded and still edits. The best part of the book, however, is an original essay, "An Autobiographical Memoir." In it, Kristol sketches his intellectual growth, which began while he was a young man attending neo-Trotskyite meetings in Brooklyn (where he met his wife, the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb) and eventually took him to Washington, D.C., where today he is a fixture at right-of-center political gatherings. For readers interested in conservative politics, Neoconservatism
is a keeper. --John J. Miller
From Publishers Weekly
This hefty collection of some 40 articles and essays written since the 1950s represents a kind of summation for neocon doyen Kristol, editor of the Public Interest. Particularly interesting is his previously unpublished opening memoir concerning influences such as Lionel Trilling, Leo Strauss and army life as well as the founding of his magazine and his work with the American Enterprise Institute to extend conservatism beyond free enterprise to reflect "on the roots of social and cultural stability." The articles are a varied lot. Some denigrate such topics as multiculturalism and the "consumers' protection movement" or declare that the 1960s counterculture was essentially unprovoked. More compelling essays reflect on the "true purposes" of the American Revolution, the 1960s growth of the "new class" and the "perverse consequences" of Great Society programs that ignored universal applicability. Kristol also includes several essays on Jews in America and on the country's latter-day shift to conservatism.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.