In Exit Right , Daniel Oppenheimer tells the stories of six major political figures whose journeys away from the left reshaped the contours of American politics in the twentieth century. Read more...
In Exit Right, Daniel Oppenheimer tells the stories of six major political figures whose journeys away from the left reshaped the contours of American politics in the twentieth century. By going deep into the minds of six apostates--Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens--Oppenheimer offers an unusually intimate history of the American left, and the right's reaction.
Oppenheimer is a brilliant new voice in political history who has woven together the past century's most important movements into a single book that reveals the roots of American politics. Through the eyes of his six subjects, we see America grow, stumble, and forge ahead--from World War I up through the Great Depression and World War II, from the Red Scare up through the Civil Rights Movement, and from the birth of neoconservatism up through 9/11 and the dawn of the Iraq War.
At its core, Exit Right is a book that asks profound questions about why and how we come to believe politically at all--on the left or the right. Each of these six lives challenges us to ask where our own beliefs come from, and what it might take to change them. At a time of sky-high partisanship, Oppenheimer breaks down the boundaries that divide us and investigates the deeper origins of our politics. This is a book that will resonate with readers on the left and the right--as well as those stuck somewhere in the middle.
- ISBN-13: 9781416589709
- ISBN-10: 1416589708
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publish Date: February 2016
- Page Count: 416
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Exploring why people hold the political convictions that they do, Oppenheimer profiles six of the most famous leftists to ever abandon their politics. Their histories stretch across the 20th century, with each holding a place in his generation's political left before becoming the arch-conservative of the next generation. The reasons for their conversions are as diverse as the men themselves: Whittaker Chambers suffered a spiritual crisis and became a Christian, James Burnham broke rank with the Trotskyites over ideological inconsistencies, Norman Podhoretz became alienated from the New Left after the radicalism of the 1960s and the snubbing of his memoir, David Horowitz was disillusioned by confrontations with the Black Panthers, and Christopher Hitchens joined the neoconservatives in calling for the invasion of Iraq. Ronald Reagan seems to have been a conservative all along, yet too politically naive to realize his true beliefs. Oppenheimer, more interested in reckoning with history than in judging beliefs, writes deeply and sympathetically about these men's crises. But his attempts to form a dialectical history of liberalism from their changes of heart are less convincing. These men were too idiosyncratic to ever truly reflect the larger history of the left, and Oppenheimer's profiles illuminate the men, not the movement. Agent: Melissa Flashman, Trident Media. (Feb.)