As American conservatism stands at a crossroads, Andrew Bacevich presents a groundbreaking collection of mainstream conservative writings since 1900, redefining a tradition whose ideas, debates, and defiance have profoundly shaped our national life.
The ideas that animate mainstream American conservatism have long been misunderstood or belittled. Here, in a sweeping gathering of 45 essential conservative writers, editor Andrew Bacevich surveys the core currents of conservative thought in the United States since 1900: the importance of tradition, the value of familial and local ties, the mounting of resistance to an ever-expanding state, the opposition to collectivist utopias and other forms of tyranny abroad, and the necessity of free markets and economic growth to sustain individual liberties and prosperity. Bacevich reveals that American conservativism has hardly been a monolithic entity over the last 120 years. Instead, conservative thought has developed through fierce internal contention and debate about fundamental questions about who we are as a people and as a nation.
On display here are impassioned arguments about bedrock beliefs: Andrew Sullivan's influential conservative case for same-sex marriage before the prospect was widely taken seriously is joined by Antonin Scalia's dissent in the Obergefell case before the Supreme Court, which made same-sex marriage the law of the land. Writings by isolationists stand side by side with neoconservative calls for foreign intervention; well-known names such as Charles Beard, Ronald Reagan, and William F. Buckley are complemented by less familiar figures such as Richard Weaver and Robert Nisbet. And certain writers who are often not thought of as conservative--Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion--are shown to possess ideas that align with key concerns of thinkers on the right.