Since its humble beginnings in the years following World War II, conservatism in America has become almost as powerful and influential as the liberalism it arose to challenge. With success, however, has come a crisis of identity, evidenced by the increasing (often acrimonious) debates between neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, libertarians, and those who simply call themselves "conservatives." One reason for this crisis may be a lack of historical knowledge and perspective. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia fills this gap in understanding by providing in-depth information and insight on the persons, schools, concepts, organizations, events, publications, and other topics of major importance to the conservative movement from World War II to the present.
More than fifteen years in the making (which accounts for the peculiarity of having several deceased persons among its 200-plus contributors), American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia includes 626 entries, typically of 750 to 2,500 words in length.
At the end of every entry is a list of articles and books for further reading, plus a list of other entries that touch on the topic at hand.
Rather than taking sides in the debate over what is and is not authentic conservatism, the editors take for granted a rather broad meaning of conservatism. "The intent of this volume," they explain, "is to provide coverage of those matters of importance to each of the major schools of postwar conservative thought and to do so as evenhandedly as possible." Which is not to say that the reader will not encounter specific points of view. Far from it: the editors have made sure that a variety of "conservatisms" are present and accounted for: classical-liberal, religious, populist, aristocratic, Straussian, traditionalist, libertarian, neoconservative, paleoconservative, fusionist, agrarian, industrialist, Southern, Northern, and so on. But each article is accurate and fair in its treatment of its subject, even if that subject is approached from a perspective with which not all conservatives would agree.
Among the 200-plus contributors to this extraordinary volume:
The most comprehensive work of its kind, American Conservatism: An Encylopedia will be of value to all students, journalists, academics, and lay readers interested in what has arguably been the most important intellectual movement of the last fifty years. And, for conservatives of any kind who want to understand where their movement came from -- and where it should be going -- this magnificent book is quite simply indispensable.
- Iconic patriarchs of the conservative movement, among them Russell Kirk, M. E. Bradford, Gerhart Niemeyer, Stephen J. Tonsor, Peter Stanlis, and Murray Rothbard
- Celebrated scholars such as George H. Nash, Peter Augustine Lawler, Allan Carlson, Russell Hittinger, Wilfred McClay, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, George W. Carey, and Paul Gottfried
- Well-known authors, including George Weigel, Lee Edwards, Richard Brookhiser, and Gregory Wolfe
- Influential movement activists and leaders such as and Llewellyn Rockwell