• The Corrosion of Conservatism

  • Why I Left the Right
  • By: Max Boot
  • Narrated by: Max Boot
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-11-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

Regular price: $20.99

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Publisher's Summary

Warning that the Trump presidency presages America’s decline, the political commentator recounts his extraordinary journey from lifelong Republican to vehement Trump opponent. As nativism, xenophobia, vile racism, and assaults on the rule of law threaten the very fabric of our nation, The Corrosion of Conservatism presents an urgent defense of American democracy. 

Pronouncing Mexican immigrants to be “rapists”, Donald Trump announced his 2015 presidential bid, causing Max Boot to think he was watching a dystopian science-fiction movie. The respected conservative historian couldn’t fathom that the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan could endorse such an unqualified reality-TV star. Yet, the Twilight Zone episode that Boot believed he was watching created an ideological dislocation so shattering that Boot’s transformation from Republican foreign policy adviser to celebrated anti-Trump columnist becomes the dramatic story of The Corrosion of Conservatism

No longer a Republican, but also not a Democrat, Boot here records his ideological journey from a “movement” conservative to a man without a party, beginning with his political coming-of-age as a young émigré from the Soviet Union, enthralled with the National Review and the conservative intellectual tradition of Russell Kirk and F. A. Hayek. Against this personal odyssey, Boot simultaneously traces the evolution of modern American conservatism, jump-started by Barry Goldwater’s canonical The Conscience of a Conservative, to the rise of Trumpism and its gradual corrosion of what was once the Republican Party. 

While 90 percent of his fellow Republicans became political “toadies” in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Boot stood his ground, enduring the vitriol of his erstwhile conservative colleagues, trolled on Twitter by a white supremacist who depicted his “execution” in a gas chamber by a smiling, Nazi-clad Trump. And yet, Boot nevertheless remains a villain to some partisan circles for his enduring commitment to conservative fiscal and national security principles. It is from this isolated position, then, that Boot launches this bold declaration of dissent and its urgent plea for true, bipartisan cooperation.

With uncompromising insights, The Corrosion of Conservatism evokes both a president who has traduced every norm and the rise of a nascent centrist movement to counter Trump’s assault on democracy.

©2018 Max Boot (P)2018 Recorded Books

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It's not going to change hearts and minds

While I welcome the conversion of conservatives like Max Boot on issues such as gender and racial inequality, gun control and climate change, his words are not going to stem the flow of Trump's Kool-Aid. Nor are they going to prevent the true believers from drinking deeply of this increasingly bitter brew. He does make some good arguments that can be used in one on one discussions. For example, Trump compares the slave-holding founding fathers compares the treasonous Confederate generals. The former advanced the cause of liberty at great risk to themselves. Had George Washington been captured by the British, hanging would have been the merciful penalty. He more likely would have been drawn and quartered. The latter took up arms against the the Republic created by the founders. It's hard for even the most ardent Trumpophile to defend honoring these traitors while still mouthing platitudes extolling the rule of law.
Max Boot's basic problem, and I think he recognizes it, is his intellect. He makes and responds to rational arguments, while Trump and his minions only respond to base emotions; e.g., anger and fear.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A fine retelling of the Trump story

I have got through 3/4 of this book, and plan on stopping there. I keep waiting for a synthesized insight of the times he covers, but it remains a detailed romp through the details and the history of first Max Boot, and then a retelling of the well worn story of "how did all that happen". But, at least for me, there is little new here. There is not even any substantial explanation, much less treatise of what a conservative is, the one that got corroded. Other than Trump isnt one, and now he isnt one either... At least as far as being a member of the Republican party makes one a conservative.

So what this turns out to be is a good, maybe even a great one, for those who have only a cursory understanding of the history of the Rise of Trump. But for someone who is well versed in that sad saga this is a not-very-deep dive into that history.

I wish all sorts of things would have been different about this book. But then, it would have been a different book. I can see where this one stands, and why it needed to be writ just this way. I hope there are better treatises later.

The first few chapters on his personal bio are interesting if your interested in those details. But it wasn’t why I got the book.

Why I did buy the book was on the reputation of M. Boot as being a central character in the 'conservative' movement. I was hoping for a detailed explanation of what that meant. Even better, if there might be a distinction made between what it means to be a conservative and the very separate thing of being a Republican.
But these two notions got conflated just as easily as they always are, and so nothing was learned there.

It’s a good book for what it is.
Its just not what I needed - I know the Trump history all to well.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Essential reading for those left behind

It was a pleasure to read a book from someone who fella like I do about the Republican Party.

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He should have donated this book.

I'm not sure who this book is for. Max Boot prattles on about his surprise the GOP went in on Trump, without properly focusing on his own role or the factors that led to it. He gives way too much recent history in an already short book. An insightful anecdote was him describing taking the job as an economics columnist with the WSJ, even though he had no experience in economics. He said the editor didn't like columnists with economics experience because most economists don't ascribe to supply side economics, which the WSJ preached. It's things like this that Boot should have focused on, not on which date Marco Rubio became a Trump stooge.

His voice and performance are also awful. He sounds like he's reading a recipe instead of his own book. No feeling or emotion comes through, it's clear he's just reading the book months after having finished it.

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recovey2035

listening to the author read this book was terrible to listen to. I have started and restarted the book 3 times and am unable to make it through the entire book.

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Pleasantly Surprised

Max Boot admits mistakes and explains his disillusionment. He keenly diagnoses the problem with Trump.

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Title says it all

The title pretty much sums up the story. Max goes into detail at what caused the corrosion and gives a hopeful glimpse into the future for those of us in the middle. Must read for recovering “dittoheads” and Never Trumpers!

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Like all the others

If you have read Rick Wilson's book, Everything Trump Touches Dies, you don't really need to read this one. They are very similar.

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Another great book from the nevertrumpers.

I really enjoyed Max’s perspective, and the deep introspection. I enjoyed hearing about how his childhood,upbringing, and environment influenced his political ideology. I did, find myself saying, “duh” a lot, but I respect the description of his evolution. I’ve also listened to Rick Wilson’s and Jonah Goldberg’s books. As a democrat, who used to debate with conservatives of this ilk, I find it enjoyable, to have, what’s hopefully , more than a temporary alliance.

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I felt he was masterfully telling my story.

Throughout the book, I was shaking my head in agreement, yet with lament, my own story.