Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing

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The side that is winning the culture wars is the side that is having the most fun. And this lively and elegant anthology strongly suggests that conservatives are having a ball - and that they're terrific writers besides. The pieces collected here show that conservatism is as much about personality as it is about ideology. The wit, acuity, and sheer delight these writers take in slaughtering sacred cows make this collection so appealing that even liberals may find it irresistible. Among the selections: Mark ...
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New (5130)Paperback, 1st Vintage edition, 1996; The outsiude edges slightly tanned, otherwise great condition!

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Overview

The side that is winning the culture wars is the side that is having the most fun. And this lively and elegant anthology strongly suggests that conservatives are having a ball - and that they're terrific writers besides. The pieces collected here show that conservatism is as much about personality as it is about ideology. The wit, acuity, and sheer delight these writers take in slaughtering sacred cows make this collection so appealing that even liberals may find it irresistible. Among the selections: Mark Helprin, admitting (to a class of West Point graduates) that what he did during the war in Vietnam was draft-dodging and wrong; Danielle Crittenden, with a manifesto for unnatural (or, at least, drug-assisted) childbirth; Andrew Ferguson, lampooning the movement to create sensitive men; Joe Queenan, intrepidly pushing the envelope of New York City's anti-smoking laws; and Florence King, on the elitist art of insulting. All this plus contributions by George Gilder, Charles Murray, James Q. Wilson, Rush Limbaugh, Peggy Noonan, Robert Bartley, William Kristol, and many, many more.

The new conservatives who are increasingly defining America's politics and values may or may not have the moral edge on their opponents. But this combative collection of writing from the new American revolution suggests that they are better writers. And the often funny essays collected here indicate that conservatism is as much about personality as it is about ideology.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's hard to say that this is really New Conservative Writing. What makes David Shiflett's musings on his dog's castration or Danielle Crittenden's on drugged childbirth ``conservative''? Maybe ``Writings by New Conservatives'' would be a better subtitle, but then again, are P.J. O'Rourke, Charles Murray and Donald Kagan really ``newer'' than Dinesh D'Souza or Glenn Loury or others who aren't represented? Which isn't to say the writing isn't good: it is. It's just that the title and a cover blurb by William Bennett about ``the most interesting political ideas'' seem misleading. Most pieces are less in-depth analysis than witticism a la the Wall Street Journal's Middle Column. Also, given the rhetoric about self-involved liberals contemplating their collective navel, it's unfortunate that so many issues are addressed through the synechdoche of the individual: Fred Barnes writing on freedom and his four cars or Joe Queenan's (listed in Who's Who as a Democrat, by the way) revelations from his week as a smoker. There are a few more thought-provoking pieces, such as Peggy Noonan's on boomer angst and Bennett's own on ``The Moral Origins of the Urban Crisis.'' Ultimately, though, most of the essays are too short or too popular to give a real sense of the complexities of conservative thought. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679766544
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/30/1996
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.09 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

David Brooks
David Brooks

David Brooks writes a semi-weekly Op-Ed column for The New York Times and appears regularly on PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and NPR's All Things Considered. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Knock Me Out with a Truck 3
My Wife as Attorney General 13
Sexual Politics, the Real Thing 17
America's New Man 21
Sister Soldiers 38
A Darkness in Massachusetts 47
The Week of Smoking Dangerously 52
The Wonders of Washington: A Memoir 65
The L Word: Love as Taboo 75
Dorothy Parker, Uncompassionate Liberal 88
A Philosophy of Pleasure 91
The Rise of Politics and the Decline of Black Culture 94
Tumbleweed Dreams 103
The Use and Abuse of Violence 107
Me and My Cars 114
The Clever Life 117
Tough Guys Don't Dance 125
Dialogues with the Dead 132
You'd Cry Too If It Happened to You 142
A Man, His Dog, and a Sad Story of Betrayal 154
Two Good Schools Are Not All We're Losing 157
Quantity Time 160
The Legacy of Russell Kirk 164
Remembering Allan Bloom 176
Time to Shake Our Hypochondria 193
America's Best Infrastructure Program 200
The Liberty Manifesto 205
George Will's Baseball - A Conservative Critique 208
Cracking that Post-Soviet Market 228
I Dodged the Draft, and I Was Wrong 235
A New Approach to Welfare Reform: Humility 240
A Nation of Cowards 247
The Coming White Underclass 264
The Moral Origins of the Urban Crisis 272
A Soldier of the Not Great War 279
Those Who Don't Get It 283
A Conservative Looks at Liberalism 286
Brickbats and Broomsticks 295
The Greatest Cold War Myth of All 298
Voice of America: Why Liberals Fear Me 301
The Revolution of 1994 318
About the Contributors 323
Permissions Acknowledgments 327
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