Synopses & Reviews
Although neo-conservatism isn't new, the term is widely misapplied, and neo-conservative foreign and domestic policies are little understood. In this anthology of essays written by today's leading neocons, columnists, politicians, and other prominent thinkers give a comprehensive overview of neo-conservative ideology in a bold collection of classic and original essays written especially for this book. Contributors include Max Boot, Lady Margaret Thatcher, George Will, and Condoleezza Rice, among others.
Editor Irwin Stelzer attempts to dispel many of the myths built up by foreign and some domestic media that have led many Americans to view neo-conservatism as a radical and cohesive movement. Rather, Stelzer seeks to prove neocons are an eclectic group of intellectuals and politicians who agree on some major policy issues but who pride themselves on their individuality. The Neocon Reader provides a collection of the ideas that are exerting enormous influence on American foreign and defense policy, and serves as an important reminder of how a loose-knit band of intellectuals and politicians thought, wrote, and preached their way into the halls of power.
"Neoconservatives have formed the first successful American political movement of the 21st century, and this anthology takes a needed step toward identifying the ideas, most of them at least 20 years old, that can be loosely identified as their platform. Though Stelzer, a former American Enterprise Institute resident scholar, points to a diversity of neocon positions in his introduction, most would probably agree with the contributor who considers democracy 'a framework to protect, and be protected by, a moral ethos,' a belief shaping many of the views on foreign policy found here. Many of the names are familiar: Kristol, Kirkpatrick, Rice, Thatcher, Will, James Q. Wilson. George L. Kelling's famous 'Broken Windows' essay (1982), which re-envisions police forces as a means of preserving social order before crime breaks out, is absorbed into the neocon canon in a prominent example of Stelzer's historical reach. The anthology's more significant achievement, however, may be in its presentation of lesser-known views on domestic policy, such as a relative lack of concern over federal deficits. Whether David Brooks and Tony Blair can genuinely be viewed as belonging here may be open to question. Some contributors defensively downplay the movement's influence, while others dwell repeatedly on fringe accusations of neoconservatism's alleged roots in a pro-Israeli cabal. The prevailing tone throughout, though, is one of cautious optimism." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The essays are informative and challenging and, taken as a whole, present a reasonably complete portrait of the neo-conservative approach." Library Journal
"Why should liberal readers dip into this sampling of the other side's ideology? To save themselves. Earnestly, to remind themselves of what it might be like to offer a coherent program again. Cynically, to figure out how the other guys did it. I'm more or less a neocon myself...so I find both the substance and the rhetoric of many of the articles here inspiring. But even those who don't might admire the imagination, forthrightness and clarity of most of the contributors." Ann Marlowe, Salon.com
(read the entire Salon.com review
Providing a collection of the ideas that are exerting enormous influence on American foreign and defense policy, this reader also serves as an important reminder of how a loose-knit band of intellectuals and politicians thought, wrote, and preached their way into the halls of power.
In this anthology of essays written by today's leading neocons, Irwin Stelzer attempts to dispell many of the myths, built up by foreign and some domestic media, that have led many Americans to view neoconservatism as a radical and cohesive movement. Rather, Steltzer seeks to prove, neocons are an ecclectic group of intellectuals and politicians who agree on some major policy issues but who pride themselves on their individuality. "Neoconservatism is more of a persuasion than a movement." He also asserts that the domestic and foreign policies advocated by Bush and his supposed neocon band of ideologues may be a sharp break from the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus, but actually have deep roots in American history and are more consistent with Brittish foreign policy than many believe.