by Yuval Levin
I enthusiastically second what Jay has to say below about the new collection of Irving Kristol’s previously uncollected essays. It’s an extraordinary book, and reading it left me more than ever missing Kristol’s extraordinary voice, which always delivered the deepest insights in such a plain, easy, disarming and often humorous way.
Readers who don’t know Kristol’s work will find this book a great way into his ideas and arguments. And even readers who are very familiar with him will surely find here some wonderful nuggets they hadn’t imagined: the early essays in the book, including several literary essays from the 1940s, are just stunning. It’s also interesting to see how very current and timely are the essays that Kristol wrote in the late 1970s—a period of liberal domination undermined by the exhaustion of Keynesianism and conservative awakening in pursuit of an economics of growth; a time when no one could quite tell if an emerging conservative populism would add up to a real political and intellectual force. The problems of that time, and the voices of reason of that day (like Kristol’s) both seem like they might easily have been pulled out of yesterday’s newspaper.
The book is well worth your while.