Sleight of Hand

The Conservative Soul

How We Lost It, How to Get It Back

Andrew Sullivan

HarperCollins, $25.95, 304 pp.

Conservatism, like liberalism, is a protean thing. I learned that many years ago in a graduate seminar. It was 1970 or thereabouts, back when we were all liberals (or in some cases radicals). To my surprise, I discovered considerable wisdom in critics of modern liberalism from Edmund Burke to Michael Oakeshott, and, at the same time, flimsy argumentation in the work of such iconic liberals as John Stuart Mill. I fretted: Did this mean I...

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About the Author

Jean Bethke Elshtain, a political theorist, authored more than a dozen books, including Women and War (1987), Democracy on Trial (1993), Augustine and the Limits of Politics (1996), and Sovereignty: God, State, Self (2008). She was a frequent contributor to Commonweal and covered many subjects in our pages, including feminism, family, just war, criminal justice, and capitalism.