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No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America Hardcover – October 31, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Crisply written, colorful, and often out-of-the-box original, this is a bold, sweeping look at the last four decades of American history. (Gil Troy, author of Leading from the Center)

A first-rate book--energetic, insightful, and a treat to read. Courtwright describes how moral conservatives joined with economic conservatives to form a powerful Republican coalition, only to discover a fundamental illusion: the Republican bus headed to market square with only an occasional detour (drugs, crime, welfare) to church street. This well-told story does the fantastic subject full justice. (James Morone, author of Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History)

Professor Courtwright's book is quite simply the best political history of the era from Nixon to the present. In lively prose, armed with a mountain of fresh research, including several interviews with key players, Courtwright convincingly argues that American political culture since the 'sixties' is nothing if not perplexing. He demonstrates that, although the 'moral right' entered the political arena with a vengeance, it failed to reshape the national culture due to the pervasiveness of countercultural values, which had been sopped up by the unstoppable forces of consumer capitalism. Yet, Courtwright also shows that where the moral right failed, the economic right succeeded--that contemporary American life is dominated by both cultural and economic libertarianism, the twin legacies of the boomer generation. (Andrew Hartman, author of Education and the Cold War)

There is much to admire here...No Right Turn is a wonderful read. Courtwright engagingly profiles figures from Clare Boothe Luce to Johnny Carson. He has gone to all the archives, interviewed all the right people, and thought deeply about his findings...He tells his story with plenty of fresh twists and turns. (Laura Kalman American Prospect 2010-12-01)

Unlike many historians of conservatism, who stop with the election of Ronald Reagan as if it were the end of the story, Courtwright takes us up to today. His book makes the case that there has been no real conservative revolution in American politics. (Kim Phillips-Fein Bookforum 2010-12-01)

Marvelously idiosyncratic. (Alan Wolfe New Republic online 2011-03-10)

As a critique of U.S. politics and culture since the 1960s, No Right Turn is both thorough and a lively read. (M. N. Green Choice 2011-04-01)

About the Author

David T. Courtwright is John A. Delaney Presidential Professor at the University of North Florida.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674046773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674046771
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Courtwright is known for his books on drug use and drug policy in American and world history (Dark Paradise, Addicts Who Survived, and Forces of Habit) and for his books on the special problems of frontier environments (Violent Land and Sky as Frontier). His most recent book, No Right Turn, chronicles the tumultuous politics and surprising outcome of the culture war that engulfed America in the four decades after Nixon's 1968 election.

Courtwright lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and teaches history at the University of North Florida, where he is Presidential Professor. He was educated at the University of Kansas and at Rice University.

Selected articles by David Courtwright are available at Digital Commons,
http://digitalcommons.unf.edu/do/search/?q=author_lname%3A%22Courtwright%22%20author_fname%3A%22David%22&start=0&context=1817986

Photo credits: Shelby Miller (color) and David Wilson (black and white)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jim Crooks on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Courtwright brillantly describes and analyzes the character of political conservatism over the past 40 years. It promised a principled game on social and economic issues, but in office played by different rules. High spending Republican presidents contradicted their economic promises while expanding executive authority in multiple areas. Meanwhile religious conservatives continue to wait for more than crumbs from the Republican tables. (Self disclosure: I was a colleague of the author at the University of NOrth Florida a decade ago.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Diemente on January 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good read. It is thoroughly researched with excellent notes at the end serving as a bibliography. Courtright juggles between two subjects, the cultural changes in each decade and the political relationship which accompanied them since the Roosevelt presidency.This book would serve well as a reference when one wants to review a cultural era, a political movement or a politicians influence. (Sprinkled throughout are scandalous details of the lives of cultural and political leaders.)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Jorgensen on June 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
An intelligent, erudite, and at times witty commentary on the Culture War of the last fifty years. The author has a conversational style, and thus it is an easy read for a history book -- but it was like having a conversation with someone standing behind a curtain. His use of the historical evidence and excellent analysis are in some sections simply brilliant -- I learned things I had "known" but not appreciated -- and I know the history of this period quite well! Courtwright is able to succinctly summarize though not slight some very complicated strands of this history -- many other authors would have used more wordage and provided less explanation. The more I read and re-read this book the greater my appreciation for what the author has accomplished.

Courtwright writes mostly as an observer though his values are fairly clear to discern. I found myself more in agreement with his observations than not, though I wasn't always pleased to do so. There is the occasional omission of relevant detail which might alter his more general points but, overall, I found this history to be fairer than many others by academic authors.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jonny707 on July 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am not a Conservative and not a Liberal though I would guess my positions on most things these days are closer to certain Conservative views. I say that as a kind of criticism of this book which aims to put all Conservatives in one basket, and all Liberals in another. In other words something in me opposes this simplistic way of operation, and the presumption that one side is simply all right, and the other side always wrong and stupid.
Isn't it possible that the Liberals are more right on some issues, and the Conservatives more right on others?
On the whole as it is biased with a conservitive agenda telling me what and how to think,I would not accept it all blindly . Each person has to think through every issue by themselves. And usually when we do think we do not come into total agreement with others but find areas in which we think and believe differently.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ROROTOKO on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"No Right Turn" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. The book interview of Professor Courtwright ran here as the cover feature on November 1, 2010.
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