Actor Alan Sklar's grave voice is well-suited to this concise political exploration of the trajectory of America's conservative movement over the course of the past half century. In The Death of Conservatism, Sam Tanenhaus provides a strong, well-organized overview of the history of right-wing conservatives in the United States, outlining the path by which he claims today's "movement conservatism" was born and rose to power and popularity.
Sklar is an authoritative and articulate performer but manages also to create a truly engaging listening experience, injecting movement and emotion into this intriguing and informative work.
For 75 years, he argues, the Right has been split between two factions: consensus-driven "realists," who believe in the virtue of government and its power to adjust to changing conditions, and movement "revanchists," who distrust government and society---and often find themselves at war with America itself.
Eventually, Tanenhaus writes, the revanchists prevailed, and the result is the decadent "movement conservatism" of today, a defunct ideology that is "profoundly and defiantly unconservative---in its arguments and ideas, its tactics and strategies, above all in its vision".
But there is hope for conservatism. It resides in the examples of pragmatic leaders like Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan and thinkers like Whittaker Chambers and William F. Buckley, Jr. Each came to understand that the true role of conservatism is not to advance a narrow ideological agenda but to engage in a serious dialogue with liberalism and join with it in upholding "the politics of stability." Conservatives today need to rediscover the roots of this honorable tradition. It is their only route back to the center of American politics.
At once succinct and detailed, penetrating and nuanced, The Death of Conservatism is a must-listen for Americans of any political persuasion.
©2009 Sam Tenemhaus; (P)2009 Tantor
[This] impeccably well-written book insightfully summarizes the highs and lows of American conservatism over the decades. (Publishers Weekly)
I like many of the points that the author makes.
But I would have liked a more detailed critique of what passes for conservatism today.
For instance, exactly what did the conservatives say regarding the GM bailout.
But I totally agree with what the author says. And I consider myself a die-hard liberal!
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content