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Customer Review

51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Strauss, September 3, 2006
This review is from: The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy (Hardcover)
The Zuckerts do a good job of giving a fairly comprehensive introduction to Strauss's complex and wide ranging thought. A notable and distinguishing feature of the Zuckerts' book in comparison with other recent works on Strauss is a historical analysis of the causes for the recent attention given to Strauss in some popular media outlets. The Zuckerts show, by means of actual quotation of the sources (a novel idea for some of the media which have made inaccurate pronouncements on Strauss's thought), that the flurry was spawned by a combination of LaRouchite propoganda and the bad and misleading scholarship of Shadia Drury. Also noteworthy for those a bit more familiar with Strauss is a history of the division of "Straussianism" into East coast and West coast Straussians (the Zuckerts describe themselves as "Midwest" Straussians) and a very thoughtful and penetrating analysis of Strauss's theory and use of esotericism. The book itself also stands as an outstanding example of Straussian scholarship by giving a first-hand illustration of Strauss's method of close reading. Along with the recent offerings of Pangle, Smith, Sorensen and Meier, the work shows just how inadequate and misleading the media treatment of Strauss has been.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Mr. Strauss Goes to Washington? 1

Part I: Strauss

Chapter One 27
The Return to the Ancients: An Overview of the Straussian Project
Strauss's Philosophical Project 30, Strauss's Departure From Heidegger and Nietzsche 32, Strauss's Analysis of the Contemporary Crisis 35, Strauss's Way Back to Ancient Political Philosophy 36, Strauss's Reading of the History of Philosophy 46, Political Philosophy and Politics 49

Chapter Two 58
Proposition 1: America is Modern 58, Proposition 2: Modernity is Bad 64, Proposition 3: America is Good 74, Straussian Ambiguities 79

Chapter Three 80
Leo Strauss as a Postmodern Political Thinker
The Problem of the Postmodern 81, Strauss's Postmodernism: After Nietzsche 83, Strauss's Postmodernism: After Heidegger 91, Derridean Postmodernism 102, Contrasting the Two Forms of Postmodernism 111

Chapter Four 115
The Man Who Gave Away the Secrets: On Esotericism
How Shadia Drury Read Leo Strauss 116, On Esotericism and Noble Lies 120, Looking For Secrets in the All the Wrong Places 136

Chapter Five 155
Leo Strauss--Teacher of Evil?
Strauss and the "Tyrannical Teaching" 158, The Thrasymachean Thesis 166, The Machiavellian Moment 177, Strauss and Schmitt 184

Part II: Straussians

Chapter Six 197
The Emergence of the Straussian Study of America
Walter Berns: The Virtuous Republic 202, Martin Diamond: Finding the Founding 209, Harry Jaffa: Aristotelianizing America 217

Chapter Seven 228
Straussian Geography
East Coast 231, West Coast 239, Midwest 252

Conclusion 261
Notes 269
Index 301
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 10, 2007 6:26:30 PM PDT
Epops says:
Helpful review. Once I gain a rudimentary understanding of the classic texts themselves and then read 5 or 6 of Strauss' books that sit on my bookshelf, this one will be high on my reading list.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2007 1:58:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2007 1:59:22 PM PST
See you in a few years, guy. I studied under Jaffa and have only began to understand the nuance in Strauss: a phenomenal mind and penetrating intellect of the second philosophical order.

Posted on Jul 27, 2008 11:21:53 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 30, 2008 6:56:11 AM PDT]
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