Catalogue


Conservatism in America : making sense of the American right /
Paul Edward Gottfried.
imprint
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
description
xviii, 189 p.
ISBN
1403974322 (alk. paper), 9781403974327
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
isbn
1403974322 (alk. paper)
9781403974327
catalogue key
6206649
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Paul Edward Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-06-01:
This is a survey of post-WW II American conservatism by an intellectual historian, Gottfried (Elizabethtown College), thoroughly disillusioned by what he sees as its movement to the center-left. Chapter 1 reflects his attachment to the Continental conservative tradition, and here he notes that the American variety is "intrinsically different." Next, he argues that, with the increasing influence of neoconservatives, many of whom are urbanites and former Leftists, this distinction became even greater. The following three chapters offer Gottfried's analysis of the neoconservatives' move to "the top of the heap" through their control of philanthropy, media, and government policy positions. He is especially harsh on their treatment of more traditional conservatives, who he charges have been "thrown from the bus," and his penultimate chapter suggests parallels between the approaches of communist ideologues and of neoconservatives. The author then examines possible objections to his analysis and concludes that American conservatism has essentially abandoned its traditional moorings, basically for political convenience. Despite disjointed injections of German politics, numerous barbs of nastiness, and a personalized perspective, the author has provided information on the internecine battles of American conservatism not easily located elsewhere. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. R. Heineman Alfred University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Paul Gottfried provides something--in fact, a lot--to infuriate everyone. But even when Gottfried is judged wrongheaded, he poses the painful questions that others flee from and offers interpretations that compel close attention from all who wish to understand the prospects for a conservative movement." --Eugene D. Genovese, author of The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism "This study of the development and moral collapse of the postwar American Right is treated with vast historical knowledge that goes beyond Paul Gottfried's stated scope. Although its subject has been examined in a spate of books in recent years, including in two of Gottfried's earlier surveys, this new work brings an informed critical perspective to a major American political movement. A must read for students of American conservatism." --Peter Brimelow, Editor, VDARE.COM "Paul Gottfried comprehends the full complexities and conflicts within American conservatism better than anyone else. This innovative and penetrating book provides the reader with a thorough knowledge and wise understanding of the major thinkers, the charged tensions, and the paradoxical transformations that have made conservatism what it is today. It is a masterful work, and it will help the rest of us to master this challenging, perplexing, and consequential topic." --James Kurth, Claude Smith Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College "Conservatism in America manifests the author's immense erudition, in German, French, and Italian sources, as well as in English ones. It is an indispensable work for understanding what passes for American conservatism in our day." --The Mises Review
"Paul Gottfried provides something--in fact, a lot--to infuriate everyone. But even when Gottfried is judged wrongheaded, he poses the painful questions that others flee from and offers interpretations that compel close attention from all who wish to understand the prospects for a conservative movement."--Eugene D. Genovese, author ofThe Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism "This study of the development and moral collapse of the postwar American Right is treated with vast historical knowledge that goes beyond Paul Gottfried's stated scope. Although its subject has been examined in a spate of books in recent years, including in two of Gottfried's earlier surveys, this new work brings an informed critical perspective to a major American political movement. A must read for students of American conservatism." --Peter Brimelow, Editor, VDARE.COM "Paul Gottfried comprehends the full complexities and conflicts within American conservatism better than anyone else. This innovative and penetrating book provides the reader with a thorough knowledge and wise understanding of the major thinkers, the charged tensions, and the paradoxical transformations that have made conservatism what it is today. It is a masterful work, and it will help the rest of us to master this challenging, perplexing, and consequential topic." --James Kurth, Claude Smith Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College "Conservatism in Americamanifests the author's immense erudition, in German, French, and Italian sources, as well as in English ones. It is an indispensable work for understanding what passes for American conservatism in our day."--The Mises Review
"Paul Gottfried provides something--in fact, a lot--to infuriate everyone. But even when Gottfried is judged wrongheaded, he poses the painful questions that others flee from and offers interpretations that compel close attention from all who wish to understand the prospects for a conservative movement." --Eugene D. Genovese, author of The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism "This study of the development and moral collapse of the postwar American Right is treated with vast historical knowledge that goes beyond Paul Gottfried's stated scope. Although its subject has been examined in a spate of books in recent years, including in two of Gottfried's earlier surveys, this new work brings an informed critical perspective to a major American political movement.A must read for students of American conservatism." --Peter Brimelow, Editor, VDARE.COM "Paul Gottfried comprehends the full complexities and conflicts within American conservatism better than anyone else. This innovative and penetrating book provides the reader with a thorough knowledge and wise understanding of the major thinkers, the charged tensions, and the paradoxical transformations that have made conservatism what it is today. It is a masterful work, and it will help the rest of us to master this challenging, perplexing, and consequential topic." --James Kurth, Claude Smith Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College "Conservatism in America manifests the author's immense erudition, in German, French, and Italian sources, as well as in English ones. It is an indispensable work for understanding what passes for American conservatism in our day." --The Mises Review
"Paul Gottfried provides something--in fact, a lot--to infuriate everyone. But even when Gottfried is judged wrongheaded, he poses the painful questions that others flee from and offers interpretations that compel close attention from all who wish to understand the prospects for a conservative movement."--Eugene D. Genovese, author of "The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism""" "This study of the development and moral collapse of the postwar American Right is treated with vast historical knowledge that goes beyond Paul Gottfried's stated scope. Although its subject has been examined in a spate of books in recent years, including in two of Gottfried's earlier surveys, this new work brings an informed critical perspective to a major American political movement. A must read for students of American conservatism." --Peter Brimelow, Editor, VDARE.COM "Paul Gottfried comprehends the full complexities and conflicts within American conservatism better than anyone else. This innovative and penetrating book provides the reader with a thorough knowledge and wise understanding of the major thinkers, the charged tensions, and the paradoxical transformations that have made conservatism what it is today. It is a masterful work, and it will help the rest of us to master this challenging, perplexing, and consequential topic." --James Kurth, Claude Smith Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College
"Paul Gottfried provides something--in fact, a lot--to infuriate everyone. But even when Gottfried is judged wrongheaded, he poses the painful questions that others flee from and offers interpretations that compel close attention from all who wish to understand the prospects for a conservative movement." --Eugene D. Genovese, author ofThe Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism "This study of the development and moral collapse of the postwar American Right is treated with vast historical knowledge that goes beyond Paul Gottfried's stated scope. Although its subject has been examined in a spate of books in recent years, including in two of Gottfried's earlier surveys, this new work brings an informed critical perspective to a major American political movement. A must read for students of American conservatism." --Peter Brimelow, Editor, VDARE.COM
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
This book argues that the American conservative movement has been largely an invention of journalists and Republican activists. This movement has exaggerated the permanence of its values, and both its militant anti-Communism, instilled in its followers, and its rejection of dissent have sapped its capacity for internal debate. Movement conservatives, who work disproportionately for Beltway publications and policy institutes, do not have a real social base. Their movement came to power at least partly by burying an older anti-welfare state Right, one that in fact had enjoyed a social following that was concentrated in a small-town America. The newcomers played down the merits of those they had replaced; and in the 1980's the neoconservatives, who took over the postwar conservative movement from an earlier generation, belittled their predecessors in a similar way. Among the movement's major accomplishments has been to recreate its own past. The success of this revised history lies in the fact that even the movement's critics are now inclined to accept it.
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this book, Paul Gottfried argues that the American conservative movement has been largely an invention of journalists and Republican activists.
Main Description
This book argues that the American conservative movement, as it now exists, does not have deep roots. It began in the 1950s as the invention of journalists and men of letters reacting to the early Cold War and trying to construct a rallying point for likeminded opponents of international Communism. The resulting movement has exaggerated the permanence of its values; while its militant anti-Communism, instilled in its followers, and periodic suppression of dissent have weakened its capacityfor internal debate.& Their movement came to power at least partly by burying an older anti-welfare state Right, one that in fact had enjoyed a social following that was concentrated in a small-town America.& The newcomers played down the merits of those they had replaced; and in the 1980's the neoconservatives, who took over the postwar conservative movement from an earlier generation, belittled their predecessors in a similar way.& Among the movement's major accomplishments hasbeen to recreate its own past.& The success of this revised history lies in the fact that even the movement's critics are now inclined to accept it.
Long Description
This book argues that the American conservative movement, as it now exists, does not have deep roots. It began in the 1950s as the invention of journalists and men of letters reacting to the early Cold War and trying to construct a rallying point for likeminded opponents of international Communism. The resulting movement has exaggerated the permanence of its values; while its militant anti-Communism, instilled in its followers, and periodic suppression of dissent have weakened its capacity for internal debate. Their movement came to power at least partly by burying an older anti-welfare state Right, one that in fact had enjoyed a social following that was concentrated in a small-town America. The newcomers played down the merits of those they had replaced; and in the 1980's the neoconservatives, who took over the postwar conservative movement from an earlier generation, belittled their predecessors in a similar way. Among the movement's major accomplishments has been to recreate its own past. The success of this revised history lies in the fact that even the movement's critics are now inclined to accept it.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. ix
The Invention of American Conservatismp. 1
Conservative Theory in Contextp. 31
On Top of the Heapp. 59
Whither the Right?p. 77
The Value Game Revisitedp. 93
Off the Busp. 115
Conclusionp. 133
Notesp. 151
Indexp. 181
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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