Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea

Book Info

  • Length: 256 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"

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  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-831-7
  • Publish date: May 2010
  • List Price: $37.95
  • Your Price: $32.26

Lib Ebook

  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-397-4
  • Publish date: January 2013
  • List Price: $37.95
  • Your Price: $32.26


An obituary—so soon! Surely the reports of neoconservatism’s death are greatly exaggerated. C. Bradley Thompson has written (with Yaron Brook) the most comprehensive and original analysis of neoconservatism yet published and in the process has dealt it a mortal blow.

Neoconservatism reveals publicly for the first time what the neocons call their “philosophy of governance”—their plan for governing America. This book explicates the deepest philosophic principles of neoconservatism, traces the intellectual relationship between the political philosopher Leo Strauss and contemporary neoconservative political actors, and provides a trenchant critique of neoconservatism from the perspective of America’s founding principles.

The theme of this timely book--neoconservatism as a species of anti-Americanism--will shake up the intellectual salons of both the Left and Right. What makes this book so compelling is that Thompson actually lived for many years in the Straussian/neoconservative intellectual world. Neoconservatism therefore fits into the "breaking ranks" tradition of scholarly criticism and breaks the mold when it comes to informed, incisive, nonpartisan critique of neoconservative thought and action.

  • An unusual critique of neoconservatism from the inside out—not the typical liberal rant
  • Thompson is a respected academic and author of award winning books. Brook is a media savvy authority on Middle East foreign policy who appears regularly on major media including Fox News and CNBC
  • The book is a serious examination of the links between the controversial twentieth-century philosopher Leo Strauss and contemporary influential neoconservatives, including Bill Kristol and David Brooks

Author Info

C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He is the author of the award-winning John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty. He is also the editor of The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams and Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader.

Yaron Brook is executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He appears regularly on national TV and radio to discuss business, economic, and foreign policy issues. He has written and spoken extensively on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and on the role of neoconservatives in formulating that policy.


"I just started on the book and am blown away by it. I knew much of it already but the careful, measured and cumulative explanation of its intellectual roots and political consequences makes it a must-read."
Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic

"This book is a must-read for all Americans interested in defending the founding fathers’ vision of a free and just society."

“A novel and riveting account. . .that traces a tight arc from Leo Strauss through Irving Kristol to the daily travails of Washington politics.”
RICHARD EPSTEIN, University of Chicago

"A brilliant and important book that substantially enlarges our understanding of the neoconservative phenomenon.”
A. JAMES REICHLEY, Brookings Institution

"This book treats the neoconservatives, Strauss, and other relevant matters with a degree of respect and intellectual care we do not find in other like-minded texts. I disagree with just about every one of the conclusions here, but the book clearly makes the best case yet made for them, and gives those of us who disagree a worthy target."
MICHAEL ZUCKERT, University of Notre Dame

"C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook delve deeply into the origin, arc, and current nature of the neoconservative movement in the United States. Brilliant, deep, and told with authority."
THOM HARTMANN, Air America Radio Network host


Introduction The Neoconservative Persuasion

PART I: Neoconservatism and American Politics
Chapter 1
The Path to Power
Chapter 2 A New Governing Philosophy

PART II: Leo Strauss and the Crisis of Modernity
Chapter 3
The Straussian Moment
Chapter 4 The Road to Nihilism

PART III: Leo Strauss and the Return to Plato
Chapter 5
The Long Trek Back to Plato
Chapter 6 Classical Natural Right

PART IV: Neoconservatism’s New World Order
Chapter 7
The World According to the Neocons
Chapter 8 Benevolent Hegemony

PART V: Soft Despotism
Chapter 9
The Fascist Temptation
Chapter 10 National-Greatness Conservatism

Conclusion Neoconservatism and the American Grain

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