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The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy Paperback – January 25, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This engaging, if shallow, study recounts the epochal post-war migration of Jewish intellectuals from Left to Right. Friedman (What Went Wrong?: The Creation and Collapse of the Black Jewish Alliance), himself a self-avowed Jewish neo-con, surveys his fellow travelers' journey from their socialist salad days to their Cold War shift towards liberal anti-Communism to their revulsion at the counter-cultural excesses of the New Left to their final decampment for Reagan Republicanism. He focuses on such neo-con pillars as Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, but he also profiles lesser known Right-wing Jewish antecedents (Frank Chodorov), neo-con newbies (William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz) and Gentile conservatives (William F. Buckley and Ralph Reed). Friedman emphasizes neo-conservatism's growing support for religion as a social glue, its militant defense of Israel and its patriotic appreciation of the opportunities America offers Jews. He also argues that Jewish neo-cons helped the larger conservative movement exchange a racist, anti-Semitic aura for intellectual sophistication and social-science chops. Friedman's conservative sympathies and biographical approach mean that he takes neo-con enthusiasms like supply-side economics and the Contra war in Nicaragua largely at face value without subjecting them to serious critical appraisal. Though neither a ground-breaking interpretation nor an incisive analysis of Jewish neo-conservatism, his book is a useful introduction to its history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Printed Access Code edition.
"His book is a useful introduction to its history." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"It is an important and elegant history of how Jewish intellectuals have shaped conservative politics." Washington Examiner, Gregory L. Schneider, Emporia State University
"...a first-rate history of the neoconservative movement." Philadelphia Inquirer, Jack Fischel, Millersville University
"[Friedman's] written an engaging history of the entire post-WWII conservative movement, showing how neoconservatism and traditional conservativism...eventually intersected. And, more importantly, how the neocons played a critical role in reshaping the movement before that joining." New York Post, Eric Fettman
"Friedman's book forms a fine testament to his memory, as well as fitting legacy to the nation it reveals him to have so dearly loved."
Readable and comprehensive. What distinguishes this volume from its predecessors is the greater support of attention it pays to the specifically Jewish background and concerns of some of the leading neoconservatives of both the older and the younger generations. The epilogue briefly delineates the role played by Jewish neoconservatives in the launching of the Iraq War in 2003.
"Freedman is at his best when theorizing about why this clique of Jews might have sought so much power, developed tunnel vision in wielding of it, and courted the support of Bible-thumping Christians while tossing former allies like gays and women under the bus. Few may have noticed while the coup was occuring, but at least The Neoconservative Revolution, after the fact, relates the fascinating back story of how the prevailing American mindset has been reshaped to the point where the handling of Katrina and the unprovoked war of aggression in Iraq are no longer national disgraces but simply signs indicating that the neocon policies have been fully implemented." - Kam Williams
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Top customer reviews
Friedman is a monster when it comes to facts, references, dates, and the like.
The trick is to read between the lines of his expository and supplement it with other materials like those of Dr. Gottfried who explain how Buckley and his cronies assassinated all the true conservatives and stole the party.
This book is detailed and thorough, but somehow not very exciting. But it is a competent telling of an important chapter in modern American history.
A few interesting points.
William F. Buckley disassociated himself early from the 'lunatic anti- Semitic right' and this helped in his pushing Conservative thought to the center of American political life.
The neo- cons were very concerned to have realistic , practical workable social policies, and were tired of grandiose and empty promises of Liberalism.
Neo- cons like Kristol and Podhoretz felt a deep gratitude to America and were alienated by the Leftist hatefilled attacks on American policy.
The 'anti- Semitism' of the left did not begin yesterday or four years ago, but Podhoretz and others felt it strongly in the seventies.
The Conservative ' revolution' was achieved in good part through the alliance of the neo- cons with more veteran conservatives like Buckley.
America seems to have greatly benefited from the neo- con contribution to its political life.