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The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
            First published in 1976, and revised in 1996, George H. Nash’s celebrated history of the postwar conservative intellectual movement has become the unquestioned standard in the field. This new edition, published in commemoration of the volume’s thirtieth anniversary, includes a new preface by Nash and will continue to instruct anyone interested in how today’s co ...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (first published May 1st 1979)
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Joseph Stieb
May 10, 2015 Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it
First, let me say that Nash does a great job recounting the development of this movement. He shows how and why 3 strains of conservatism (traditionalists/values folks, libertarians, and ex-Leftists). He lays out their views in just the right amount of detail and shows the great variety of conservative thought in this period. Any 20th century American political historian should check out this book.

I came into this book hoping to find some interesting perspectives and possible challenges to my own
...more
Jonathan
Decent but frustratingly inadequate. Nash is honest, but he fails at a deeper task of the intellectual historian: to ask questions the intellectuals can't (or don't) ask of themselves. Intellectually speaking, this is a chronicle, not a history.

Nash generally takes at face value the highly contested concepts deployed by the New Right -- "individualism," "limited government," "tradition," etc. -- rather than inquire about their content. He does note that postwar American conservatism actually com
...more
Phillip W.
Apr 08, 2014 Phillip W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent history and chronicle of the conservative intellectual movement. It is encyclopedic in its scope and is a handbook of the ideas and leaders of the movement.

The most provocative aspect of the book is at it recounts the history, tension, and rifts of the conservative intellectual movement it shows how the vibrant competition of ideas led to a broadside critique of liberalism. While liberalism remains ascendant as a practical, social convention, it has been intellectually bankrupt for
...more
Matthew Linton
A classic for a reason. Even though Nash is a conservative, his portraits of conservative luminaries like Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley show warts and all (particularly their abhorrent views on race and the civil rights movement).
Douglas Baskett
Jun 04, 2016 Douglas Baskett rated it really liked it
This book is best for describing the foundation of conservative thought in America, including its earliest origins but also the variations and disagreements among now-canonical texts and revered figures.

Now for my editorial: This book helps to demonstrate that today's conservatives, with their references to these figures (such as Hayek or his book The Road to Serfdom) in public speeches, call on the authority of these figures but may not know what they're talking about. It also demonstrates tha
...more
Geoffrey Rose
Dec 18, 2011 Geoffrey Rose rated it liked it
Provides a solid background on the three strains of Conservative thought since 1945 (libertarianism, traditionalism and anti-Communism) and provides a narrative history of the development of the "movement."

This isn't hagiography but Nash's sympathies for his subjects allows him to record their stated views at face value without asking the sorts of questions that would make this a richer intellectual history.

I was also rather taken aback by any criticism of the National Review's editorial line du
...more
Anurag
Mar 12, 2014 Anurag rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A riveting, erudite and comprehensive summary of conservative movement in America. It is difficult to find books on politics that themselves don't have a stance on history. This book accomplishes the task to comment, excite and narrate without taking any political view. History writing simply at its best.
Dave
Jan 24, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
A well constructed intellectual history of the postwar conservative movement in America. Nash does a nice job of tracking the three different strands - libertarians ("I hate big government"), traditionalists ("The soul of the west is imperiled by secularism!!"), and anti-communists ("Better dead than red") that eventually intertwined to become the most potent force in American politics
Ed
Mar 14, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buy, own
This book is a well fairly well written history. Like all histories it is somewhat limited by the perspective of its times. This book was written pre-Ford which adds to its charm. There is none of the Watergate bitterness.
Good start or overall review of the conservative argument through the sixties. Great bibliography to launch further research.
Kyle
Oct 29, 2013 Kyle rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at how the Conservative movement in America started and came to the forefront. Does much to explain the current factions on the right. If you want to understand modern conservatism from a historical perspective, this is the book you should read.
Jonathan
None
Andrew Votipka
Jan 12, 2016 Andrew Votipka rated it it was amazing
If you are a conservative (or want to know about conservatism) then buy it. Read it now. Know your history.
Timothy
Dec 01, 2007 Timothy rated it liked it
Haven't finished it yet, but plan to
Kevin
May 25, 2010 Kevin rated it it was amazing
An essential volume for every conservative library.
Ronald
Jul 26, 2011 Ronald rated it really liked it
Excellent history of the conservative movement since 1945. Read Russell Kirk first, then George Nash.
Cliff
Jan 03, 2011 Cliff rated it really liked it
A must read for any conservative minded individual, or any politically minded person, regardless of political persuasion. Would love to see another update in the next few years.
Seth
Jul 11, 2010 Seth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A must read for anyone attempting to bring coherence to American intellectual history since 1945.
Michael
Jun 13, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
I wish someone would have given me this book 15 years ago.
Eric
Feb 11, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
Collection of conservative thought going back to at least mid-century
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George H. Nash is an independent scholar, historian, and lecturer, with specialties in twentieth century American political and intellectual history. A summa cum laude graduate of Amherst College, he received his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1973. He speaks and writes frequently about the history and present direction of American conservatism, the life of Herbert Hoover, and other s ...more
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