The Conservative Crack-Up

The Conservative Crack-Up

by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tyrrell, editor of American Spectator , argues that a ``conservative crack-up'' began in 1987 with the rejection of Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court. The Bork hearings, in his view, typify the battles that conservatives are increasingly losing to ``the infantile left.'' Melding memoir with political analysis, the book is at its most interesting when discussing individual conservatives the author has known--Irving Kristol, Luigi Barzini, William Casey, Malcolm Muggeridge, William F. Buckley--or when blasting such liberals as ``the radical mountebank Jesse Jackson.'' The most memorable section of the book is a hilarious set-piece on an evening President Reagan arrived for dinner at the Tyrrell home accompanied by a battalion of Secret Service agents. The author asserts somewhat recklessly that Reagan was the most successful president since FDR. An amusing and occasionally clever commentator on the political scene, Tyrrell has a reputation as a debunker of balderdash. But in these pages it is not always clear what balderdash he is debunking. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Tyrrell first exposed liberal follies in The Liberal Crack-Up (S. & S., 1984). This time around, the editor of the conservative monthly American Spectator takes on his fellow conservatives. Part political analysis and part memoir, Tyrrell's book wittily examines the vagaries of post-World War II conservatism in America, especially during the Reagan years. While conservatism has become popular as a political philosophy, Tyrrell argues (quite correctly, this reviewer thinks) that conservatives have had little effect (or interest in effecting) wider cultural concerns. The lucid political commentary is spiced with vivid personal sketches of Ronald Reagan, Malcolm Muggeridge, William F. Buckley, Irving Kristol, Taki, and even Doc Counsilman, Tyrrell's legendary swimming coach at Indiana. All in all, a book of keen political insight and sometimes hilarious personal memoir. Recommended for general collections.-- Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&I Univ. Lib., Kingsville

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Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
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