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The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism

de Matthew Continetti

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892299,654 (3.75)1
"When most people think of the history of modern conservatism, they think of Ronald Reagan, with his politics and policies front and center. Yet this narrow view of a movement obscures the whole, leaving many to question: How did Donald Trump win the presidency? And what is the future of the Republican party? In The Right, distinguished journalist Matthew Continetti shifts this lens, arguing that an understanding of the history of the pre-Reagan right is crucial to understanding the past and determining the future of the movement. The Right is a sweeping historical account of American conservatism's evolution, from the beginning of the Progressive Era through the present. It tells the story of how conservatism in the United States began as networks of intellectuals, often acting in concert with political figures, developed a critique of Progressivism and of New Deal liberalism, and institutionalized this vision in magazines, think tanks, nonprofits, and political entities and campaigns. Over time, these thinkers attracted new adherents, including former Democrats and evangelical Christians, and built up a conservative superstructure of organizations and media outlets that turned ideas into policy. With the end of the Cold War, this conservative superstructure found itself under attack from dissidents for whom it was too globalist, too corporate, and too open to unrestricted immigration. The superstructure held for two decades but buckled under the pressures of the second Iraq War and the global financial crisis of 2008. Just as the Vietnam War ended the reign of Cold War liberals in the Democratic Party, the Iraq War ended the reign of post-Cold War conservatives in the Republican Party, and the right began to resemble other national populist movements around the world. Drawing out the tensions between conservatism and populism, and between the conservative desire for mainstream acceptance and the pull of extremism, Continetti argues that the more one studies conservatism's past, the more one becomes convinced of its future. Deeply researched and brilliantly told, The Right is essential reading for anyone looking to understand the American right"--… (mais)
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A lot interesting history about the evolution of the American Right between 1920-2020. It would have been better for the general reader if there was less detail about secondary characters and philosophies. It is a tough slog in some places. ( )
  ghefferon | Aug 2, 2022 |
Informative history of conservative thought in America over the past 100 years. Especially helpful is the history of paleo- vs. neo-conservatism and the differences between these two subsets. I would've liked more definitions of some of the lesser-known subsets of conservative thought (e.g., "reform conservatism" was discussed but never really defined). The author presented the information fairly and without judgement; even the parts of conservatism with which he has previously publicly expressed his personal disagreements are discussed factually and neutrally. The final chapter was a great review of the book for those looking for a "TL;DR" summary. ( )
  teepland | Jul 9, 2022 |
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"When most people think of the history of modern conservatism, they think of Ronald Reagan, with his politics and policies front and center. Yet this narrow view of a movement obscures the whole, leaving many to question: How did Donald Trump win the presidency? And what is the future of the Republican party? In The Right, distinguished journalist Matthew Continetti shifts this lens, arguing that an understanding of the history of the pre-Reagan right is crucial to understanding the past and determining the future of the movement. The Right is a sweeping historical account of American conservatism's evolution, from the beginning of the Progressive Era through the present. It tells the story of how conservatism in the United States began as networks of intellectuals, often acting in concert with political figures, developed a critique of Progressivism and of New Deal liberalism, and institutionalized this vision in magazines, think tanks, nonprofits, and political entities and campaigns. Over time, these thinkers attracted new adherents, including former Democrats and evangelical Christians, and built up a conservative superstructure of organizations and media outlets that turned ideas into policy. With the end of the Cold War, this conservative superstructure found itself under attack from dissidents for whom it was too globalist, too corporate, and too open to unrestricted immigration. The superstructure held for two decades but buckled under the pressures of the second Iraq War and the global financial crisis of 2008. Just as the Vietnam War ended the reign of Cold War liberals in the Democratic Party, the Iraq War ended the reign of post-Cold War conservatives in the Republican Party, and the right began to resemble other national populist movements around the world. Drawing out the tensions between conservatism and populism, and between the conservative desire for mainstream acceptance and the pull of extremism, Continetti argues that the more one studies conservatism's past, the more one becomes convinced of its future. Deeply researched and brilliantly told, The Right is essential reading for anyone looking to understand the American right"--

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