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Leo Strauss and the American Right Paperback – February 15, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


“Her evidence is persuasive, and her research is impeccable . . . investigates how Strauss formed his ideology and what events, such as the Holocaust, may have shaped his views.” —Publishers Weekly

“...the work of political scientist Shadia Drury (University of Calgary) is essential for readers who are particularly interested in the political usage of religion in modernity and postmodernity.” —Studies in Religion

About the Author

Shadia B. Drury is a professor of politics at the University of Calgary in Canada. She is the author ofThe Political Ideas of Leo Strauss andAlexandre Kojeve: The Roots of Postmodern Politics. She lives in Calgary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (February 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312217838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312217839
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,640,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Luther G. Weeks on August 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
A readable and scary review of Strauss' philosophy and how it influences neo-conservative thoughts and actions. I could not put it down.

It is hard to believe this was written in 1999. It is consistent with everything we have seen and suspected since the 2000 election. What we see today in the missing John Roberts documents. Yesterday in the Downing Street memos. And tomorrow in ...

Do you wonder why Jewish and Catholic neo-cons support a born-again President? Why born-again evangelicals support Israel? Because the philosopy of Strauss is for only a few chosen individuals to be educated and know what is going on, to lie to the rest of us, and to use religion (any religion will do) as a vehicle to rally the masses.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ovidius on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I can't give a very complete review since I read the book two years ago; however, I was surprised that some reviewers are praising it and so wanted to get my two cents in.

If Drury took the ideas of the people she critiques seriously, this would be an excellent book since she covers such interesting terrain. However, she dislikes anyone who is not a liberal so much that she is completely deaf to them. I will give only one example, but I think it shows how misleading her readings are of Strauss, Carl Schmitt and Heidegger.

She writes: "Strauss points out that the greatest philosophers, those who manage to rise above convention altogether, are pederasts" (62).

Her endnote for this claim points to The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism pages 116-7.

Looking up those pages, one sees that Strauss is discussing Aristophanes' representation of Socrates. In this context, Strauss writes:

"We record here the fact that the hero of the Birds, who succeeds in dethroning the gods and in becoming the ruler of the universe through the birds, is the pederast Peisthetaerus" (117).

To go from the fact that a character in a comedy by Aristophanes is a pederast to Drury's claim that for Strauss the greatest philosophers are pederasts shows how arbitrary and malicious her interpretations are. Or rather that the principle guiding her interpretation is that whatever Strauss writes must be interpreted in the most nefarious way possible.

Her book is really a polemic and as such Drury is more concerned with deriding her opponents than in giving them a fair hearing. However, if she would have the mindset to give them a fair hearing, then I think she would see that there is no need for all-out war but rather strategic queries.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By javed yehya on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
one of the best and lucidly argued presentation of neo-conservatism and the alleged 'guru' of the movement, Leo is a solid refutation of this
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21 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Michael Russell on August 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is stuck somewhere between authentic scholarship and a popular television-type investigative report. I cannot help but thinking Shahida Drury was duped into updating her earlier, more scholarly executed work on Leo Strauss, by the publisher who wanted to cash in on contemporary, and now out of date, political moods. The book is very short (included in the total page count is her Notes section and her Index), skimming the surface and regurgitating thread-bare arguments; however, I think she truly believes what she writes. The good professor is the 'city' and she comes up against 'the philosopher' and accuses him of unjust things in a more sophisticated and learned way than the political men ever could. She is Thraymachus, her anger at Strauss is honest and not totally without cause, for Leo Strauss, the little old, refugee Jew, really was a dangerous man. He was dangerous because philosophy is dangerous and this book testifies to how constant and true or perrenial that fact remains. I encourage anyone to read this book to see that I am not simplifying or rationalizing the text. Here is the clash that has marked civilization since the death of Socrates.
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