Conservatism’s enduring debates

Not quite thirty years ago, I sketched out a book-length history of the American political right. I had read and enjoyed George Nash’s and Jay Sigler’s tomes, but felt they were both a little dated and had excluded essential thinkers and developments. I also felt that academe, which I was in training to join, had given the political right short shrift, treating it as little more than a history of idiots, bigots, and lunatics. I spent innumerable hours in New York University’s Bobst Library reading through old issues of National Review and The Public Interest, and plunging down assorted rabbit holes. For the better part of a year I took notes and reworked my outlines. I even floated my book idea to a grinning William F. Buckley, Jr., when I had the happy luck to be invited to lunch with the staff of National Review. No surprise, the always-up-for-action Buckley told me to go for it…. (Read more)

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