Synopses & Reviews
Sam Tanenhaus's essay "Conservatism Is Dead" prompted intense discussion and debate when it was published in the New Republic
in the first days of Barack Obama's presidency. Now Tanenhaus, a leading authority on modern politics, has expanded his argument into a sweeping history of the American conservative movement. For seventy-five 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.
"Tanenhaus' capsule history of American conservatism begins with a nostalgic review of the movement's intellectual forefathers-Edmund Burke to William F. Buckley-and culminates in an analysis of its run off the rails during the George W. Bush administration, when the ideas-driven conservatism of the postwar era was obliterated by a generation of ideological lockstep and inept governance. Alan Sklar's capable and smooth reading gets the material across but is marked by the occasional jarring misnomer (it is William F., not William E., Buckley). Nevertheless, he ably renders dry political battles of the past as high intellectual drama. A Random hardcover (Reviews, Jul. 6)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An elegant brief history of the modern conservative movement, as unsparing in its critique of liberal hubris as of revanchist resentment." ---The New York Times
"Sklar's capable and smooth reading gets the material across…he ably renders dry political battles of the past as high intellectual drama." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review
Journalist Sam Tanenhaus expands his New Republic cover story on the death of conservatism into a book-length manifesto, arguing that the 2008 election brought movement conservatism to an end, while expressing optimism that "authentic conservatives" can still bounce back.
About the Author
Sam Tanenhaus is the editor of both the New York Times Book Review and the Week in Review section of the Times. From 1999 to 2004, he was a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he wrote often on politics. His work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and many other publications. Tanenhaus's book Whittaker Chambers: A Biography won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award, Alan Sklar has narrated nearly two hundred audiobooks, including Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden, The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings by Thomas Maier, and The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award (twice), a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine. The Dartmouth graduate's theatre credits include Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Seagull, and many modern roles. Alan has also narrated thousands of corporate videos for clients such as NASA,Sikorsky Aircraft, IBM, Dannon, Pfizer, AT&T, and SONY. For several years, he has been the spokesman for TracFone Wireless Co. and can often be seen and heard on TracFone radio and TV spots and infomercials."I am so pleased, as is my husband, to have found a narrator that holds our attention so well that we have come to compare every other narrator to him (you). So far we have found none with such a talent as yours. We very much plan to listen to as many of your works as we can find." -Sandi King, a letter to Mr. Sklar