I agree that The Conservative Mind was a terribly important book in the history of American conservative thought. Nonetheless, I much prefer the late Frank Meyer to Russell Kirk. Meyer contributed to NR from the beginning, and his In Defense of Freedom is, in my view, the seminal articulation of an authentic American conservatism — what Meyer called “fusionism.” The entire monograph is included in this collection of Meyer’s writings published by Liberty Fund. Among other treats, it includes Meyer’s critique of Kirk and other “new conservatives” of the post-War period. I also recommend this biography of Meyer, which includes many interesting tidbits about the magazine’s history.