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A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism

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ISBN-13: 978-0195157260
ISBN-10: 0195157265
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Conservatism emerging as a political force to be reckoned with very well may be the most enduring counterculture movement of the Sixties. Schoenwald (humanities, Stanford) offers a thoroughly researched investigation of the love/hate relationship between mainstream Republican conservatism and extremist, rabid anti-Communist factions like the John Birch Society and how they merged in 1964 to nominate the conservative Arizona senator Barry Goldwater as the Republican Presidential candidate. While Goldwater proved to be the wrong man at the wrong time, Schoenwald demonstrates that Ronald Reagan was the right man at the right time just two years later when he was "surprisingly" elected governor of California. The conservative movement surpassed liberalism as the politics of choice for voters when its leaders and grass-roots workers discovered the limits of ideology, the importance of organization, and the necessity of getting out the vote. Although not as entertaining as Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (LJ 2/15/01), Schoenwald's is an excellent account of the spread of conservatism from 1957 to 1972. His study is especially strong in revealing the internal workings of the many splinter groups that the movement comprised during its formative years. Strongly recommended for larger public and academic collections. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Elegantly written and persuasively argued, A Time for Choosing is destined to become a standard work in the study of modern conservatism. It is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the decline of liberalism and the dramatic shift to the right since 1960."--Steven M. Gillon, University of Oklahoma

"Jonathan Schoenwald has given us a well-researched and thoroughly fair account of the growth of the modern conservative movement from 1950 to 1972, centering on the struggle between its more responsible protagonists and its extremist fringes. In so doing, he is leading the way in giving the movement the serious historical attention it has long deserved. Future students of the movement will find his book indispensable."--William A. Rusher, The Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy

"Carefully argued, well researched, and far ranging, A Time for Choosing successfully reconceptualizes the rise of the modern conservative movement. Jonathan Schoenwald has clearly demonstrated that the conservative capture of the Republican party in 1964 was only the beginning of a dynamic process of taming extremists, attracting moderates, and integrating grassroots organizations into a viable electoral alliance that would eventually vanquish the New Deal coalition of President Franklin Roosevelt."--Robert Alan Goldberg, University of Utah

"In this crowded field, Schoenwald has accomplished a remarkable feat: rooting around the boxes in the conservative attic and recovering some of the more forgotten moments and figures from the movement's past."--Washington Monthly

"Amid the many recent books on the rise of American conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s, Jonathan Schoenwald's volume stands out for its depth of research, clarity of writing, and--above all--for its admirably balanced understanding of the dilemmas and divisions that confronted conservatives in those years."--James T. Patterson, Brown University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195157265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195157260
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,940,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ernie G on December 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jon Schoenwald's "A Time for Choosing" is well-written and well-researched. The book not only details a history of the evolution of American conservatism, but it also provides relevant context for American politics today, as conservatives face a schism and liberals wrestle with how (or whether) to work with the ongoing evolution of conservative movement. The book is good for a rigorous academic context, or for folks involved in politics, or for everyday Americans trying to understand where the country has come from and where it is going.
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