Gottfried_Review
Reviews

Later, Not Better

The work of a longtime author on social problems, on the deteriorating relations between blacks and Jews, and on Philadelphia civic life who also served as a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Murray Friedman’s history of the neoconservative ascent to power is neither scholarly nor balanced.  Nor is it a book I enjoyed reading, or one that reveals its author in a flattering light.  Friedman died within weeks of its publication, and soon after his last meeting with this reviewer—at a scholarly gathering of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia that we both attended each month.  This last of his many books stands in contradiction to the man I recall, who was gracious in conversation and must have had a better understanding of his subject than this dismal volume suggests.

The Neoconservative Revolution is little more than a boasting brief,  puffed out with defamation and exaggeration, for the transformation of the American right by neoconservatism.  Although the neoconservatives—including, presumably, Friedman himself—“barely disguised their contempt for older-style conservatives, whom they viewed as philistines,” and while Commentary’s one-time music authority, Samuel Lippman, once observed that “traditional conservatives placed their emphasis on national elections, battling communism, and running business, leaving...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here

X