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Letters to a Young Conservative

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  548 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Dinesh D'Souza rose to national prominence as one of the founders of the Dartmouth Review, a leading voice in the rebirth of conservative politics on college campuses in the 1980s.He fired the first popular shot against political correctness with his best-selling exposé Illiberal Education. Now, after serving as a Reagan White House staffer, the managing editor of Policy R ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 13th 2005 by Basic Books (first published October 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 921)
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Mar 01, 2013 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2013
I think I adore this man, but I also find parts of him so angry and a bit repulsive. But, as a scholar and American supporter, he has my utmost gratitude. If I had the opportunity to shake his hand, there is a small chance, I would fall at his feet and bathe them with my tears.
I also think I would like to feed him lunch and possibly mother him to some degree.

56: A classic he writes, is a work that has survived the provinciality of its own moment in space and in time. ....It is less important fo
Michael Locklear
Aug 11, 2012 Michael Locklear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-home
I've had this book in my library since January 16, 2003... and I'm sorry I did not read it sooner.
A friend of mine recently brought D'Souza back to my attention with his book, "What's So Great About Christianity." So I thought, "Hey, you have one of two of his books. You need to read him." And I'm glad I did. Earlier, I finished "Godforsaken" but I have yet to review and close it out on Goodreads. I will soon.
But back to "Letters To A Young Conservative."
If you have any interests in politic
Aug 05, 2010 Szplug rated it it was ok
I picked this up thinking it might be something along the lines of Burkean/Kirkian conservative thought, parsed through the lens of modernity and (necessarily) more succinct and abbreviated than the principal output of either of D'Souza's ideological forebears. It didn't take me long to realize it was more of a primer in that delightful culture war trademark tactic of How to Annoy the Other Side. Presumably, D'Souza felt he could crank out a barbed and amusing epistolary volume that would be lig ...more
Aug 09, 2007 Will rated it did not like it
This book was a truly frightening window into contemporary conservative thought. There are basically no ideas here, except that liberals are stupid and ugly, and that Reagan was a great man. Whether you agree or disagree, it would be nice to see some actual attention paid to supporting these arguments with something resembling rational analysis.

The jokes are about what you'd expect from a 12-year-old boy... who's not very funny. But, like Anaconda, Kazaam, and other similar movies, this one is
Jul 15, 2007 Fawn rated it did not like it
I've seen this book described as a series of rational arguments against the liberal agenda. Unfortunately, that is not what you will find. This "rational" book with its "logical" conclusions is rife with straw man arguments. Inflammatory statements are tossed about to mask weak points, anecdotal stories are presented as hard data, unnecessary distasteful jokes are sprinkled in, all removing the credibility of his sparse solid uses of logic. This is yet another political book that does a beautifu ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Peter rated it liked it
Politics is always tough to discuss because there's less room for middle ground out there today. D'Souza emigrated to the US from India (if I remember correctly), and slowly made the transition from ultra-liberal to conservative. His book uses correspondence between he and a young college student to explain how and why he came to his political orientation. He does an adequate job of rebutting many of the common liberal attacks on the conservative agenda. It's a quick read, and worth it for anyon ...more
May 07, 2011 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you're looking for an intellectually rigorous articulation of conservative ideals, this is not your book. I just kept thinking that if the young recipient of D'Souza's letters actually assumed the same glib, arrogant posture, he probably got his clock cleaned by the first quick-thinking liberal he met. D'Souza certainly makes a number of strong points, but too many times he falls into a pattern of setting up straw men and then demolishing them for easy applause.
Timothy Nichols
Feb 08, 2014 Timothy Nichols rated it it was ok
As a portrayal of general political conservatism, the book is pretty good, and D'Souza's tales of college conservative hijinks are hilarious. However, the conservatism presented here is ultimately unsatisfying because it lacks a compelling center. D'Souza critiques "the libertarian temptation" because it fails to offer a vision of the good life, while conservatism does. But D'Souza's vision of the good life begs the question, "Says who?" It's the world he would prefer to live in, but does it rea ...more
Douglas Lobo
Feb 29, 2016 Douglas Lobo rated it it was amazing
Reviewers who acuse Dinesh D'Souza to be "angry" make the old mistake generations of conservatives has been made: being polite with the leftists, just to be called by them "fascists". Yes, Dinesh D'Souza is angry with leftists. I myself appreciate that. After all, politics is a war of ideas, and being polite or not is a secondary issue. On the other hand, the book explains greatly the grounds of conservatism. Criticizing the lack of scientificism in the book is missing the point: "Letters to a Y ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Karen rated it did not like it
The impression I got from this book was that, basically, if you are a liberal, you are an awful person, doomed to an eternity of immoral thoughts and a lack of competence, no matter who you are.
Jul 19, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
I would contend that Dinesh D'Souza is one of the greatest conservative minds presently active on the political scene. This is a must-read for any young conservative!
Jeff Raymond
I wasn't familiar with D'Sousa when I read this, but I think I'm glad that was the case after doing so. Quite the self-important streak he has there.
Shawna Shannon
Jan 27, 2008 Shawna Shannon rated it did not like it
I learned that I would rather gouge my own eyes out than have to read this book again. Not very academic, but true.
Tony G.
Oct 02, 2007 Tony G. rated it did not like it
"With mentors like these..."
Jarrod Jenkins
Nov 20, 2008 Jarrod Jenkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Funny and entertaining advice on how to remain a conservative in the looney left indoctrination camps we call colleges. D'Souza is a bright guy who adds a touch of humor to what it means to be a conservative.

He suggests that conservatives fight against "political correctness", which is actually an attempt at thought control. Certain supposedly elite schools actually made it a punishable offense to laugh at someone. They called it "inappropriately directed laughter". D'Souza suggests that people
Aug 05, 2011 Randy rated it really liked it
In 30 short chapters (the book is 220 pages) D'Souza takes us on a whirlwind tour of the worldview of the conservative. Because of the brief treatment each subject receives, he cannot approach a thorough defense of any of them. Nevertheless, by the end a coherent picture emerges and he concludes by offering a reading list that should more fully satisfy the appetite he was only able to whet.

In an historical overview we learn that both conservatism and modern liberalism have their roots in class
Josh Hanke
May 20, 2015 Josh Hanke rated it really liked it
I greatly value Mr. D'Souza's logical arguments against liberalism (and agree with most of those arguments), but he often lets his religious beliefs taint his thinking (gay marriage). Here were some memorable pieces that I thought either humorous or thought provoking:

"There is some overlap in the moral vocabulary that liberals and conservatives use. Both speak of 'equality,' although they mean different things by the term. Conservatives emphasize the equality of rights and they are quite willing
Kenneth Lorence
Nov 23, 2015 Kenneth Lorence rated it liked it
Dinesh D'Souza has an interesting read on conservatism in America. In a series of letters to an aspiring conservative named Chris, D'Souza lays out his positions on different social/political issues. Like any political book it has its agenda, but he does a good job or arguing the case for conservative causes and provides solutions to modern-day issues. Anyone interested in politics and reading about both sides of the aisle should check this book out.
Jul 28, 2011 Zack added it
In a style that is as witty as it is articulate, Dinesh D'Souza takes aim against liberal policy in Letters to a Young Conservative. The book is written in the form of a correspondence between D'Souza and a college student. It serves as a platform for most of his conservative political views. He addresses a wide range of topics; everything from abortion, feminism, and homosexuality to foreign policy, big government, and postmodernism. If you are at all knowledgable of the political realm, I sugg ...more
Amy Sawyer
Feb 18, 2016 Amy Sawyer rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. A must read for anyone curious about conservatism - what it purports and why. Incredibly relevant, articulate and witty without being pompous or verbose. D'Souza povides a wonderful philosophical insight into conservatism, which is direct, honest and unapologetic. An absolute gem.
Megan Elyse
Oct 31, 2014 Megan Elyse rated it really liked it
All reviews on here seem largely partisan. I've read the first few chapters, and I've enjoyed his commentary on the liberal elite at Dartmouth. Being a teacher myself, I strongly disagree with the overtly liberal overtones displayed at the college level. Teachers should stay out of politics, and let students think for themselves.

Just finished his work... Bravo!
Mar 24, 2009 Tressa rated it really liked it
I never knew Dinesh D'Souza had such a marvelous sense of humor, but Letters to a Young Conservative really highlights how funny he can be. I really respect D'Souza's veiws on how much opportunity there exists in America for anyone who tries, because he immigrated to America from India in 1973.

Letters to a Young Conservative is a small book packed with some great topics. D'Souza touches on subjects from affirmative action to feminism to the self-esteem hoax that actually causes people to under
Vedran Kuljanin
Jul 02, 2014 Vedran Kuljanin rated it really liked it
Entertaining and quick read. A lot of precise and sharp content makes time fly by when reading. Dinesh is very conservative though and so ultimately there will be arguments you are reading that you won't agree with. However, all arguments do have a sense of reason and ultimately you can tell they are being argued because Dinesh feels it is better for America's sake, and you can't fault that.
Joseph Hogan
Apr 03, 2014 Joseph Hogan rated it really liked it
Definitely going to irk some people - which is a good thing. He makes some great thought-provoking points. A handbook for modern conservatives.
Jul 09, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it
When I was in high school, a friend recommended this book. As I read through it, staunch neo-con that I was, I became unsettled. Although at the time, I was the anti-green everything person, his thoughts on GMO's and the environment made me think twice. His logic contradicted my religious beliefs that we should (which I wasn't at the time) be good stewards of God's earth. Basically, this book made me go back and reread the Bible and to become a eco-loving, Christian Libertarian. I really doubt t ...more
Dec 26, 2009 Sally rated it really liked it
This was a good book, written at an easy-to-understand level, covering a great many 'hot topics' of the day. It is a lamentable fact that many people do not think issues through to a logical conclusion, but D'Souza helps in that pursuit. While I did not agree with him on every point, it was interesting to hear his position on things such as Abraham Lincoln, immigration, abortion, etc. I would recommend this book to readers of any political persuasion, as a spur to clearer thinking.
Jun 26, 2010 Shawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, sold
Got this for free, decided to see what this D'souza guy had to say. Glad I read it. It's interesting, and most often he makes generalizations that make me shake my head with concern, but it is only one person's take on "conservatism" and not representative of a group. For instance, how to bolster your argument for "conservativism"? Well, take ann issue, then fashion a straw-man made of "libertarian" views and your opinion sounds extraordinarily plausible in comparison.
Angel G
May 26, 2016 Angel G rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to reading this. But bruH couldn't stop dickriding himself. This shirt gave no insight into being a conservative in the states--instead was a circle jerk of how happy you should be to call yourself a conservative
Allen Bagby
Jan 22, 2013 Allen Bagby rated it it was amazing
I read this book shortly after 9/11/01. I was a conservative but had never done much reading on understanding and defending my beliefs. I was almost 40 years old. This books was a great intro to conservativism 101. No matter what your age, if you are wanting to convert from a leftist/liberal to a Spirit of 76er, i.e. USA loving patriot, that is a classical liberal, then this is a solid place to start.
Jul 30, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!
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A former policy analyst in the Reagan White House, Dinesh D'Souza graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983. He served as John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. D'Souza writes primarily about Christianity, patriotism and American politics. In 2014, he was convicted of violati ...more
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