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The Conscience of a Conservative [Paperback]

Barry Morris Goldwater

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Book Description

1 Oct 2011
2011 Reprint of 1960 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. "The Conscience of a Conservative" was published by Goldwater when he was an Arizona Senator and a potential 1964 Republican presidential candidate. The book reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star. The book has influenced countless conservatives in the United States, helping to lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution in 1980. The book is considered to be a significant statement of politically and economically American conservative ideas which were to gain influence during the following decades. The book continues to inspire contemporary political commentary.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Barry Goldwater (1909–1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr. Conservative". Goldwater is the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement. Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and fought through the conservative coalition to defeat the New Deal coalition. He mobilized a large conservative constituency to win the hard-fought Republican primaries. Goldwater's right-wing campaign platform ultimately failed to gain the support of the electorate and he lost the 1964 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson by one of the largest landslides in history, bringing down many Republican candidates as well. The Johnson campaign and other critics painted him as a reactionary, while supporters praised his crusades against the Soviet Union, labor unions, and the welfare state. His defeat allowed Johnson and the Democrats in Congress to pass the Great Society programs, but the defeat of so many older Republicans in 1964 also cleared the way for a younger generation of American conservatives to mobilize. Goldwater was much less active as a national leader of conservatives after 1964; his supporters mostly rallied behind Ronald Reagan, who became governor of California in 1967 and the 40th President of the United States in 1981. Goldwater returned to the Senate in 1969, and specialized in defense policy, bringing to the table his experience as a senior officer in the Air Force Reserve. His greatest accomplishment was arguably the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which restructured the higher levels of the Pentagon by increasing the power of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to direct military action. In 1974, as an elder statesman of the party, Goldwater successfully urged President Richard Nixon to resign when evidence of a cover-up in the Watergate scandal became overwhelming and impeachment was imminent. By the 1980s, the increasing influence of the Christian right on the Republican Party so conflicted with Goldwater's libertarian views that he became a vocal opponent of the religious right on issues such as abortion, gay rights and the role of religion in public life. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dated but Enlightening 6 Jun 2013
By Logan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So I bought this book to try inform myself on some fundamental conservative principles (not like they really change much!) and the book that inspired two presidents (Reagan and Bush II). It is a very well written book and even though many of the points in it are very, very outdated in today's world (like talking about how the Eisenhower's administration was spending the astronomical amount of 85 billion a year ha ha ha!) the core philosophy Goldwater is espousing is timeless.

Overall it informed many of my arguments with practical reasoning that applies even today. My only main concern aside from the history he used was his argument about Civil Rights which while I agree in principle to some of it, my modern sensibilities conflicted with his statements.

If you're flirting with libertarian conservatism and want a book from an icon, then certainly order this book today! If you are very left wing in your opinions I think this book may overwhelm you with it's brevity, but I always suggest finding out about the 'other' side because my next book will likely be The People's History of the USA!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A constitutional conservative primer 18 Dec 2011
By T. Williamson - Published on
Barry was very knowledgeable of the US Constitution and the spirit of its framers. A good primer. He examines the issues and abuses rampant in the US government, and shows how our freedoms are threatened; he shows an equal understanding of liberalism. He puts the blame not on liberals, but on conservatives for standing idly by while the US Constitution is dismantled with spurious legislation. Pertinent for our current affairs. I'd recommend reading it side by side with the Penguin guide to the US Constitution. A good read whether you're liberal or conservative. If you're liberal, you'll probably be glad he's not around anymore--that is, until you see your rights evaporating. Tyranny is coming fast. As I write this, Congress and the President just passed the NDAA, authorizing indefinite detainment of US citizens. No evidence, no warrant, no charges, no trial, no public record of your arrest. This is what a power hungry Fed Govt will continue to do. Violation of your 4th amendment rights. what's next? Read up, so you'll know why.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's fascinating how 3 April 2013
By jmk - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
much of Goldwater's writing is still applicable to today. The book is, unfortunately, a rather boring read. It is pretty compact and you can get through it quickly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! 26 Mar 2012
By Roger Haley - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I heard about this book from a Fox News series. The concepts of this book still hold true today, probably more than ever. If you are new to conservatism, this book is a quick read, only 120 pages, that will give some insight into conservatism. If you are not a conservative, still read this book so you can be see both sides.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Piece of History 2 Mar 2010
By James M. Rabidue - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall the book was solid read, when viewed from the perspective of history. That is not too say that the work doesn't hold up well in today's environment, because it does. It's just that the references are dated and the political overtones are obvious. I think it would make a nice companion piece to something written by Ayn Rand (philosophy based) or Milton Friedman (economic based). I would also recommend reading Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman. It's is a solid counterpoint to Goldwater.

I would have preferred the book be a bit more dense of ideas, however given that it's written by a politician, I can appreciate the brevity.
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