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Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys Hardcover – February 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"A thoroughly engaging, witty, and instructive series of essays by the best and rightest of our generation."

-- Christopher Buckley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Editor Mary Eberstadt is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Contributing Editor to Policy Review, and author of Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes. She is former managing editor of the Public Interest and former executive editor of the National Interest.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions; First Printing edition (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416528555
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416528555
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,209,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Eberstadt is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She has written widely for magazines and newspapers, among them First Things, Policy Review, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, and Commentary.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Berman on February 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's not often that I read a political book that's so personal. If you are a Conservative, you will be nodding repeatedly while reading the stories, thinking "Yes, that happened to Me!" If you are Liberal and or Progressive, you will gain a deeper understanding of your rightwing acquaintences who seem like nice people but, hey, there must be something wrong with them since how could they vote for George BushChimpHitler?

In most cases the writers had an 'Aha' moment. Whether or not it is Stanley Kurtz reacting to protesters who were threatening to kill cops, Heather Mac Donald realizing that her training in deconstructionism was preventing her from actually understanding or even enjoying the books she was reading, Dinesh D'Souza flinching at the sexual propaganda from the University Chaplain at opening ceremonies, or Joseph Bottum looking at a young mother struggling with her child, each of them had a moment where they realized that their was something amiss with their surroundings and were motivated to take action.

Revolutionaries are traditionally associated with the Left. These writers are the Revolutionaries of the Right. Worth reading if you're interested in politics, no matter what your point of view.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Sherman on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been historically disappointed with these types of collections. For example, I thought the volume Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing edited by David Brooks was only mediocre. This book, on the other hand, really grabbed me and held my attention. The writing is excellent. Further, and more importantly, the stories are all engaging and very different. Each of the writers took unique journeys and arrived at different places. For example, David Brooks' brand of conservatism and story of arriving there is very different from Joseph Bottum's or Dinesh D'Souza's (or the other 10 writers).

Though I do not qualify as a baby-boomer, as someone who discovered in my 30's that my true home was on the political Right, I found a great deal in this volume that I could relate to and learn from.

This book is probably better designed for persons who are already conservatives or leaning towards conservatism rather than as a persuasive tract designed to convince those on the political Left of the errors of their ways (though some on the Left may relate to some of the essays and find them persuasive--especially Danielle Crittenden's, whose essay is excellent).

For the many conservatives who are down in the mouth right now, this volume is an excellent reminder of why we think the way we do.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Paul Marc Oliu on April 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a bit skeptical of edited books, probably because I have read so many that were poorly done. But I confess, Mary Eberstadt did a wonderful job. Not only were the writers across the conservative spectrum, but the premise of the book, leading conservatives discussing their own personal journey turned out to be both interesting, enlightening, and reflective of some of my own experiences.

Without going into detail about each of the writers, and the personal journey's they experienced, one thing is clear. Like all political philosophies and affiliations, there are many strains of thought. More importantly, how each person arrived at those beliefs is certainly unique.

And so we have 12 conservative thinkers/writers who discuss their coming around to being a conservative. For some, like Sally Satel, what draws them to conservatism are issues that are crtitical to her (psychiatry). Otherwise, many of her positions would be considered liberal. Or Richard Starr whose journey to conservatism was aided and abetted by President Jimmy Carter. There is Rich Lowry who, wouldn't you know, a life long conservative, although he didn't realize it until college. Or Heather Mac Donald who revolted against what academia had become. Each with his or her own story.

And in each story, a little bit of what many readers will have experienced themselves. This is by no means a book about how a group of leftist radical hippies turned out to become leading conservatives like David Horowitz. What you do find is are people that grew into conservatism. Much like, I suspect, many readers of this book.

I highly recommend.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bunyard on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting collection of essays by a dozen "baby boomer" men and women of contemporary conservative letters. All the essays were written for this publication, so it is not a grab bag of bits and pieces written at different times and places. Thus it's a good sampling of current opinion(s). For the most part it is light fare; the sort of book one could read while on an outing at the beach, or relaxing on the backyard patio.

I doubt very much that anyone with political views to the left-of-center will read this book. It definitely "preaches to the choir." Those who are already convinced will find their conservative convictions reaffirmed in a highly readable manner. I found the book to be light and refreshing; a nice breather from wading through the polemics of geopolitical analyses.

There is P. J. O'Rourke's wacky humor. (I'm still not sure if he's a conservative or a nihilist.) Richard Starr of the Weekly Standard writes a more serious essay, averring that "Jimmy Carter made me the conservative I am today." The pious Carter believed that the "setbacks America suffered under his command were turning us into a better nation." Starr rightly perceives that the great modern liberal temptation is to believe that "threats are imaginary and enemies nonexistent."

The contribution by David Brooks was, I thought, the best article in the book. Among other literary pursuits, Brooks is the token conservative columnist for The New York Times. I was taken aback by Brooks' forthright declaration that he believes America's "foray into Iraq is one of the noblest endeavors the United States , or any great power, has ever undertaken." This is a courageous stand by a thoughtful and knowledgeable man.
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