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Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America

$26.99 (Z)

  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107675711

$26.99 (Z)
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About the Authors
  • This book offers an original interpretation of the achievement of Leo Strauss, stressing how his ideas and followers reshaped the American conservative movement. According to this study, Strauss and his disciples came to influence the establishment Right almost by accident. The conservative movement that reached out to Strauss and his legacy was extremely fluid and lacked a self-confident leadership. Conservative activists and journalists felt a desperate need for academic acceptability, which they thought Strauss and his disciples would furnish. They also became deeply concerned with the problem of “value relativism,” which self-described conservatives thought Strauss had effectively addressed. But until recently, neither Strauss nor his disciples have considered themselves to be “conservatives.” Strauss's followers continue to view themselves as stalwart Truman-Kennedy Democrats and liberal internationalists. Contrary to another misconception, Straussians have never wished to convert Americans to ancient political ideals and practices, except in a very selective rhetorical fashion. Strauss and his disciples have been avid champions of American modernity, and “timeless” values as interpreted by Strauss and his followers often look starkly contemporary.

    • Rejects the conventional view of Strauss and his disciples as antiquarians looking backwards for their political models
    • Stresses the thoroughly modern character of their political thinking and their reading of classical texts
    • Argues that Straussians find it exceedingly difficult to separate hermeneutics and politics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Paul Gottfried gives us the most knowledgeable and balanced analysis yet published of the thought of Leo Strauss and of his disciples, the famous and controversial Straussians. Like Strauss himself, Gottfried is deeply grounded in the great traditions of both German and Jewish scholarship. The resulting book is a rich, deep, and wise interpretation of the most important American political theorist of the mid-twentieth century.”—James Kurth, Swarthmore College

    “Paul Gottfried’s crisp and incisive study offers a fresh perspective on the subject of Strauss and his students. A gifted intellectual historian, Gottfried brings a breadth and density of knowledge, both of fin-de-siècle German Jewish culture and of post-World War II American conservatism, which he draws upon to challenge much of the conventional wisdom about his subject. The resulting book is a must-read for all serious students of American intellectual history and American conservatism.”—Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    “There appears to be a terrible mental derangement, called ‘Straussophobia,’ afflicting American academic life. Paul Gottfried is the therapist we need to disentangle its elements.”—Kenneth Minogue, London School of Economics

    “Paul Gottfried is a learned scholar and a principled conservative. His admirably detailed and reflective study, which considers Strauss in the context of European and American intellectual history, commands our attention.”—Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania

    "Gottfried's new book, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, is as much a study of Leo Strauss's influence in America as it is an historical narrative about the gradual marginalization of what used to be understood as "conservatism" in America. Indeed, as he brilliantly shows, these two developments are inseparable."—Grant Havers, Trinity Western University, CONSERVATIVENET List for Conservative-Libertarian History

    "stimulating new book" -Thomas L. Jeffers, Marquette University, The Journal of American History

    "Though academic in nature, Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America is written in plain English. What a blessing this is, for it is mandatory reading for all self-described conservatives interested in knowing about the history and the ideas that have influenced their movement." -Jack Kerwick, FrontPage Magazine

    “Readers interested in the character of American conservatism and in the debates over the role of Leo Strauss and his students in the conservative movement will want to read this book.. This densely argued book adds to the debate over Strauss and his legacy by its comprehensive assessment and its argumentative stance. It is worth serious reflection.” -Timothy Fuller, Colorado College, Perspectives on Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107675711
    • length: 194 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.25kg
    • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. A significant life
    3. Constructing a methodology
    4. The method under assault
    5. Politics as practice
    6. Political theory as political practice
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Paul E. Gottfried, Elizabethtown College
    Paul Gottfried is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of numerous books, including Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium and After Liberalism.

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