Exit Right
Exit Right The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century By Oppenheimer, Daniel Book - 2016

Writer and filmmaker Daniel Oppenheimer uses 6 American figures to guide us through the transformation of conservative and political thought in the 20th century. What all the figures have in common is they started as liberals or as outright leftists and later moved towards the right, renouncing their more radical politics and often breaking with their friends and colleagues. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan and iconoclastic essayist Christopher Hitchens are the best known names, but he also looks at Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham, who were both communists, and writers Norman Podhoretz (who edited Commentary magazine) and David Horowitz, who worked at Ramparts magazine. For some it was an agonizing decision, while for someone like Reagan, it just felt like a natural progression. There's some good discussion of the leftist and Marxist context that many of them emerged from, but I wish he looked more at their continuing influence on the conservative movement, especially as it finds itself at the crossroads. "The Reactionary Mind" looks more at the thought and theory behind conservative politics, while Thomas Frank offers more of a demolition job of the Republican brand. Regardless of its flaws, a useful and sometimes insightful book on an interesting subject.

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