Up from Conservatism

The Future of Liberalism
Alan Wolfe
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 335 pp.

There is a poignant account of the sociologist Richard Sennett, then a radical young academic, upbraiding the great liberal elder statesman, Lionel Trilling. “You have no position,” Sennett complained; “you are always in between.” To which Trilling responded: “Between is the only honest place to be.”

I can imagine Alan Wolfe saying something similar. Wolfe, a political scientist and sociologist who teaches at Boston College, has moved steadily from left to center over the decades....

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About the Author

Kevin Mattson is the author (most recently) of When America Was Great: The Fighting Faith of Postwar Liberalism (Routledge).