Engaging history from a talented new scholarly voice.

INVISIBLE HANDS

THE MAKING OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT FROM THE NEW DEAL TO REAGAN

The riveting story of how economic conservatism became one of the leading strands in American political thought.

Phillips-Fein (History/New York Univ.) follows conservatism from its birth as a big-business reaction to the New Deal to its zenith as a key element of the Reagan Revolution in the early ’80s. She eschews lengthy theoretical discussion of conservatism’s laissez-faire, small-government tenets, focusing instead on the unique individuals behind the movement, beginning with the wealthy du Pont family, who believed that New Deal economic reforms were nothing less than socialism, and eccentric, influential Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, who shaped conservatism into a fully formed ideology. During this period, conservatism would largely remain the purview of such big-business associations as the Liberty League and the National Association of Manufacturers, but it wouldn’t remain in backrooms for long. Phillips-Fein profiles the colorful characters who brought conservatism into mainstream popular culture during the ’50s, including National Review editor William F. Buckley and novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand. An extended section on General Electric executive Lemuel Ricketts Boulware, who expertly used conservative propaganda to help break strikes and achieve political goals, is especially revealing, particularly in the author’s analysis of his hard-right ideology’s influence on GE employee Ronald Reagan. Phillips-Fein ably examines the merging of economic conservatism, anticommunism and religious and moral thought. She details the influence of evangelists like Jerry Falwell, who successfully entwined conservative economic ideology and anticommunism in his version of Protestantism and gained massive popular support. Finally, the presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1976 and 1980 show conservatism finally breaking through to the mainstream and becoming part of average citizens’ thinking. Readers may be sorry that the book ends with Reagan’s election. An examination of how conservative ideas shaped American politics in later decades would be most welcome, if executed with the same verve and skill that Phillips-Fein demonstrates here.

Engaging history from a talented new scholarly voice.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-05930-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more