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Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind Hardcover – October 20, 1999
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some of Kirk's books and other writings, it offers a good perspective on the entire Kirk canon. Those readers who are well acquainted with Kirk and his work can find here a helpful review. It includes a selected bibliography of Kirk's main writings and also a selected bibliography of other sources Person used in preparing this study of Kirk.
A central problem with understanding Kirk is the somewhat opaque nature of his writings. While it's easy to see what Kirk is against, it isn't always easy to see why, or what his solution to current political and cultural problems was. Perhaps because of this, Kirk is seldom quoted these days, and there hasn't been much in the way of secondary studies on his thought.
James Person has written a reliable overview of Kirk's thought (which also contains a modest biography of sorts). Person organizes this work thematically, hitting on the key areas of Kirk's thought (including discussions of his fiction, as well). My only gripe is that the book could have used a bit more editing. Sentences tend to drag on, and some of the writing is a bit "chatty" for a scholarly work. (Mr. Person hasn't heard of Orwell's rule about not using two words when one will do.)
In light of the current "conservative wars" I found portions of this book (published in 1999) quite interesting. I didn't know that Kirk's last foray into politics was in 1992 when he was chairman of Pat Buchanan's Michigan campaign. It's not surprising that Kirk is ignored by the neocon nitwits who run the conservative movement today. There is also an interesting story about how Kirk was attacked by certain Straussian neocons concerning his criticisms of Lincoln. Although Kirk disagreed with much of Lincoln's agenda, he called Lincoln a "conservative" and a "great man." Much to the consternation of the neocons, anything less than total support of King Abraham wasn't good enough.
This book is well written, well researched and is a good read.