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Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America
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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.

Promotional Information

Offers a strikingly original interpretation of Leo Strauss, his 'political philosophy', and the connection of both to the American conservative movement.

About the Author

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.

Reviews

'Paul Gottfried's book shows evidence of a lifetime of more intimate engagement with Straussians. He is respectful of the master, formed in 'a richer cultural world than his followers - indeed a Teutonic one that most of his prominent students detested'. Gottfried is clearly disappointed in Strauss's 'epigones', who are happy to refute their poorly informed but respectable critics on the Left but who refuse to engage in serious debate with their learned and perceptive critics on the Right.' Mark Shiffman, Modern Age
'I've always wanted to read a critique of Strauss - and more particularly, of Straussianism - which didn't devolve into leftist hyperbole or paranoia. This is the first I've read. Gottfried's critique is really from the right - against Strauss's postmodern reading of texts ... against the abolition of history as well as historicism, against the reclusiveness and defensiveness of the Straussian enclave, and against their fixation with Western weakness in which the world is forever 1938. He persuaded me that the core of Straussianism is political, not philosophical - and a true competitor to what I would call conservatism, properly understood. None of this takes away from the truly remarkable scholarship that Strauss and Straussians have given us, or their useful antidote to the idea that all our core debates about the world have been resolved. But it helps reveal the deeply un-conservative and profoundly radical nature of neoconservatism, and its mania for imperialism and Israel.' Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish
'[The only book that] specifically offers a right-wing critique of this German-Jewish emigre professor who is so often assumed to be a right-winger himself ... Paul Gottfried's book... is sufficiently magnanimous that it may lead readers to a new appreciation for Strauss.' Daniel McCarthy, The University Bookman
"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-siecle 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, 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 and Political Science
"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' 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
"... stimulating new book ..." Thomas L. Jeffers, 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, Perspectives on Politics
"Paul Gottfried's book shows evidence of a lifetime of more intimate engagement with Straussians. He is respectful of the master, formed in 'a richer cultural world than his followers - indeed a Teutonic one that most of his prominent students detested'. Gottfried is clearly disappointed in Strauss's 'epigones', who are happy to refute their poorly informed but respectable critics on the Left but who refuse to engage in serious debate with their learned and perceptive critics on the Right." Mark Shiffman, Modern Age
"I've always wanted to read a critique of Strauss - and more particularly, of Straussianism - which didn't devolve into leftist hyperbole or paranoia. This is the first I've read. Gottfried's critique is really from the right - against Strauss's postmodern reading of texts ... against the abolition of history as well as historicism, against the reclusiveness and defensiveness of the Straussian enclave, and against their fixation with Western weakness in which the world is forever 1938. He persuaded me that the core of Straussianism is political, not philosophical - and a true competitor to what I would call conservatism, properly understood. None of this takes away from the truly remarkable scholarship that Strauss and Straussians have given us, or their useful antidote to the idea that all our core debates about the world have been resolved. But it helps reveal the deeply un-conservative and profoundly radical nature of neoconservatism, and its mania for imperialism and Israel." Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish
"[The only book that] specifically offers a right-wing critique of this German-Jewish emigre professor who is so often assumed to be a right-winger himself ... Paul Gottfried's book... is sufficiently magnanimous that it may lead readers to a new appreciation for Strauss." Daniel McCarthy, The University Bookman

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