Magazine July 15, 2013, Issue

Let Burke Be Burke

Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, by Jesse Norman (Basic, 336 pp., $27.99) and Edmund Burke in America: The Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism, by Drew Maciag (Cornell, 304 pp., $29.95)

General readers in search of a reliable and readable single-volume biography of Edmund Burke have had few options in recent decades. Although some significant new material (including especially Burke’s complete personal correspondence) has become available since the middle of the 20th century, no authoritative biography has made his story widely accessible. This is odd, given Burke’s importance to Anglo-American political thought, and especially to English and American conservatives who tend to be fertile in producing books about their heroes.

But precisely Burke’s importance and relevance may have stood in the way of a definitive short biography. Writers telling his story have

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

FISA Fiasco

‘The FISA court is a rubber stamp.” The ongoing NSA controversy has revived that shopworn talking point, relentlessly repeated by progressive and libertarian opponents of national-security surveillance. The notion is ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Let Burke Be Burke

General readers in search of a reliable and readable single-volume biography of Edmund Burke have had few options in recent decades. Although some significant new material (including especially Burke’s complete ...
Politics & Policy

Hinges of History

Heraclitus called war “the father of all things”; James Lacey and Williamson Murray see war as the father of civilization and, more  specifically, of major global shifts of power. That’s a ...
Politics & Policy

The Siege of Men

Something fundamental has changed about American society, and it’s weakening our nation, both economically and culturally. Analysts have worked to identify potential causes, and have come up with many suspects: the ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Bad Artists Steal, Too In mentioning the works George Lucas “borrowed and repurposed” in the making of Star Wars, Ross Douthat omits the films of Japan’s Akira Kurosawa — but I ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Harry Reid, looking up to the sky from the Senate floor, said that Ted Kennedy would “smile at all of us” when the immigration bill passed. Smile, sure, Mr. ...
Athwart

Borderline Crazy

From an early draft of the immigration bill:  1.223 (b) The government shall construct a fence across the entirety of the border. Upon completion of the fence the government may, at ...
The Long View

Passed But Not Read

PASSED BUT NOT READ: Senate Bill 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. With Amendments and Revisions FULL TEXT EXCERPTS: From Title I: 9 SEC. 4. SOUTHERN BORDER SECURITY COMMISSION. 10 (a) ESTABLISHMENT. ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE TEDDY BEAR That is a human curiosity – endear what might destroy you in the wild. Give children emblems of ferocity to cuddle when they’re frightened, sad, or riled. Take what is fierce and ...
Happy Warrior

The Graffiti on the Wall

Timing is everything, even in apocalyptic doom-mongering. When my book America Alone came out in 2006, the conventional wisdom was that its argument about Europe’s demographic death spiral was “alarmist” ...

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