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Political scientist Lowndes breaks fresh ground in this history of contemporary conservatism, refuting the backlash thesis, which holds that Southern voters turned to the Republican Party after the Democrats embraced a civil rights platform. The author reveals how the backlash was anything but reactionary—it was the result of long-running mobilizing strategies by conservatives who made successful appeals to white voters and divergent elements in Southern politics: "the bourbon politics of the black belt regions... the complex tradition of southern populism; and the political aspirations of the emergent metropolitan bourgeoisie." The book highlights the largely unknown Charles Wallace Collins, who first aligned segregationists and conservatives and provided the philosophical underpinnings for the states' rights movement. Well-researched and readable sections detail the crucial role of the staunchly anti—civil rights National Review and how Southern conservatism was variously interpreted and shaped by its progenitors and champions from George Wallace to Richard Nixon. While Lowndes loses focus in an irrelevant profile of radio commentator and Klan member Asa Carter, his book is a valuable contribution to the study of contemporary conservatism. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.