re: Five Best

by John J. Miller

Jonah: The astonishing thing about the list is the inclusion of The Federalist Papers. Really? Conservatives don’t have to share it? Does this mean we win the game?

If liberals accept this claim without a fight, the radicalism of their enterprise will become self-evident.

One of my top five would be The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America by George Nash, a book about which I cannot say enough good things. (It came in #22 on the extended list.) I was a conservative before I read it, but it helped me understand why and how. Also, it’s chock full of geeky esoterica. Want to understand insider jokes on The Corner about immanentizing the eschaton? Read Nash. It will all make sense and you’ll get to laugh along.

I was a little surprised by the complete absence of Russell Kirk from the extended list. A different configuration of contributors probably would have put The Conservative Mind in the top five. It shows how subjective these results can be.

The Burke suggestions (on the extended list) are unusual. No Reflections? And the O’Brien biography has its problems. (In truth, our generation needs a great popular one-volume Burke bio.)

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