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The founder of The American Spectator and author of The Liberal Crack-Up (1984), etc., widens the scope of his satiric fire to include his fellow conservatives. Tyrrell is far kinder to his comrades on the right, however, than to his old enemies on the left. Writing with great wit that only occasionally is forced or flat, he offers fresh insight into Irving Kristol and the rise of the neoconservatives and provides revealing commentary on William F. Buckley, Jr. The entire book acts as a paean to what Tyrrell considers the political genius of Ronald Reagan, whom he believes was finally betrayed by ""pragmatists""; there is a lengthy and clever comparison of FDR and Reagan as the century's most successful presidents. Nationally syndicated columnist Tyrrell is at his best when he takes on the tide of political correctness inundating American universities, seeing in p.c. nothing less than an assault on the liberties its defenders claim to be trying to save. For Tyrrell, the ""conservative movement's"" shortcoming rests not so much in politics as in its failure to influence or dominate the American ""kultur"" that he sees as securely in the grip of his liberal opponents. The author's fear is that older conservatives have grown tired and that there is no young generation of conservatives ready to lead into the future. Tyrrell has a lot to say about virtually everything under the American political sun, and much of what he says is noteworthy; but some judicious editing would have pruned his more prickly pontifications.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster