Leo Strauss And The American Right / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States for his first term, and the conservative revolution that was slowly developing in the United States finally emerged in full-throated roar. Who provoked the conservative revolution? Shadia Drury provides a fascinating answer to the question as she looks at the work of Leo Strauss, a seemingly reclusive German Jewish emigré and scholar who was one of the most influential individuals in the conservative movement, a man widely seen as the godfather of the Republican party’s failed "Contract With America." Among his students were individuals such as Alan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind. Strauss influenced the work of Irving Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb and William Kristol, as well as Chief Justice Clarence Thomas and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Drury delves deeply into Strauss’s work at the University of Chicago where he taught his students that, if they truly loved America, they must save her from her fateful enchantment with liberalism. Leo Strauss and the American Right is a fascinating piece of work that anyone interested in understanding our current political situation will want to read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Her evidence is persuasive, and her research is impeccable . . . investigates how Strauss formed his ideology and what events, such as the Holocaust, may have shaped his views.” —Publishers Weekly

“...the work of political scientist Shadia Drury (University of Calgary) is essential for readers who are particularly interested in the political usage of religion in modernity and postmodernity.” —Studies in Religion

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After the Republican Party drafted its Contract With America in 1994, the New York Times traced the document's neoconservative ideology to the late Leo Strauss (1899-1973), a German Jewish migr and professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago during the 1950s and '60s. Dubbed by the media as the "godfather of the conservative revolution," Strauss, according to Drury, was considered to be the shadowy force behind the Republican Party, as his teachings were being spread by former students and admirers like Allan Bloom, Clarence Thomas, William Bennett and Irving Kristol. Although Drury's (The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss) prose is occasionally dry and academic, her evidence is persuasive, and her research is impeccable. Beginning with an account of Straussians in Washington, she works back to the professor's dominant ideas and how they affected the current political climate. She investigates how Strauss formed his ideology and what events, such as the Holocaust, may have shaped his views. Her own opinions on the matter of conservatives vs. liberals (she sides with the latter) are clearly stated yet remain incidental because her interest seems to lie in exploration rather than conversion. For students of political theory, Drury is an expert guide. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Drury (political science, Univ. of Calgary) has expanded an earlier work, The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (St. Martin's, 1988), to examine the influence of reclusive political philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973) on the American neoconservative movement. Drury rejects Strauss's philosophy for its attacks on liberalism and call to institute strong moral leadership in the United States. She largely reviews Strauss's political philosophy and spends considerable time on his views of Judaic and German philosophers. Drury points out Strauss's influence on many in the neoconservative movement, including Allan Bloom and Irving Kristol, and on the Republican Party's Contract with America. But she spends far more time on Strauss's philosophical views than on how these views manifested themselves in others' writings. Her book also requires not only an understanding of Strauss, which is tedious enough, but of the philosophies of Plato, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Schmitt, and others. The work's appeal is limited to advanced graduate-level students in political philosophy.Patricia Hatch, Insurance Inst. for Property Loss Reduction, Boston
Booknews
Although Leo Strauss was a reclusive and secretive scholar, he is often thought of as one of the prime architects of the ideology that produced the Reagan revolution and the Republican party's Contract with American. Drury (politics, U. of Calgary, Canada) looks at Strauss's life and intellectual development, and the ways in which his followers have applied his ideas to American history and politics. She maintains that American neoconservatism is a radical and reactionary philosophy that derives its distinctive qualities from the influence of Strauss. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Booknews
Drury (politics, U. of Calgary) finds in the seemingly reclusive German-Jew emigrant and scholar one of the most influential people in the neoconservative movement that blossomed with the 1980 election of Reagan as US president, and the Godfather of the Contract with America. She places his role in the context of his life in Germany and the state of US society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312217839
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/15/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 823,959
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Shadia B. Drury is a professor of politics at the University of Calgary in Canada. She is the author ofThe Political Ideas of Leo Strauss andAlexandre Kojeve: The Roots of Postmodern Politics. She lives in Calgary.

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Table of Contents

Preface
• Straussians in Washington
• Strauss’ Jewish Heritage
• Strauss’ German Connection
• American Applications of Straussian Philosophy
• Neoconservatism: A Straussian Legacy
• The Demise of American Liberalism
• Selected Bibliography
• Index

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