Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.39
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $3.39   
  • New (4) from $8.25   
  • Used (6) from $3.39   


In Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America, Michael L. Ondaatje delves deeply into the historical archive to chronicle the origins of black conservatism in the United States from the early 1980s to the present. Focusing on three significant policy issues-affirmative action, welfare, and education-Ondaatje critically engages with the ideas of nine of the most influential black conservatives. He further documents how their ideas were received, both by white conservatives eager to capitalize on black support for their ideas and by activists on the left who too often sought to impugn the motives of black conservatives instead of challenging the merits of their claims. While Ondaatje's investigation uncovers the themes and issues that link these voices together, he debunks the myth of a monolithic black conservatism. Figures such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Hoover Institution's Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele, and cultural theorist John McWhorter emerge as individuals with their own distinct understandings of and relationships to the conservative political tradition.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A splendid narrative of the rise of black conservative intellectuals who emerged into the public sphere with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. . . . A first-rate, evenhanded account of black conservatism that will likely be a pivotal work on the topic for years to come."—Journal of American History

"A splendid narrative of the rise of black conservative intellectuals who emerged into the public sphere with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. . . . A first-rate, evenhanded account of black conservatism that will likely be a pivotal work on the topic for years to come."—Journal of American History

"Michael Ondaatje has taken on a subject that few have written about so thoroughly and extensively, and his book makes a notable contribution to modern American intellectual history and race relations. He probes deeply into the thought of black conservative intellectuals, exploring their positions on such key racial issues as affirmative action, welfare policy, and public education. Applying rigorous critical analysis, he also documents their logical failures, intellectual inconsistencies, and suspect arguments."—Raymond A. Mohl, coeditor of The New African American Urban History

"A well-written and important piece of scholarship that aids considerably in historical understanding of black conservatism in particular and modern American conservatism in general."—Edward J. Blum, author of W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812242065
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/18/2009
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael L. Ondaatje teaches American history at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Profiles of an Intellectual Vanguard 25

2 Affirmative Action Dilemmas 55

3 Partisans of the Poor? 92

4 Visions of School Reform 125

Conclusion 155

Notes 157

Index 209

Acknowledgments 219

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)