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As the author of The Conservative Mind and other seminal books, Russell Kirk is usually thought of as one of the American conservative political movement’s most important progenitors. But as this collection demonstrates, Kirk was perhaps at his best as an essayist. This volume also confirms that Kirk’s was principally a literary and historical conservatism that refused to fit the irreducible complexity of human experience to the requirements of any ideological straitjacket.
With The Essential Russell Kirk, literary critic George A. Panichas captures the breadth and depth of Kirk’s intellectual project by gathering together forty-four of the most masterful of Kirk’s essays, along with a unique chronology told in Kirk’s own words and a substantial introduction that articulates the deep humanism that animated Kirk’s philosophy. The result is a carefully assembled volume that gives us a fuller picture of an extraordinary man and writer, one whose labors had, and continue to have, remarkable repercussions on the American literary and political landscape.
'“The conclusion that without Kirk, modern American conservatism would not have existed, alone merits the recent publication of The Essential Russell Kirk, a collection of his writings. Edited by the distinguished literary critic George Panichas, it is a significant contribution to understanding his place in American intellectual history.” —Gerald J. Russello, The New Criterion“For more than forty years and in more than thirty books, and in countless articles, Kirk fought on the front line in the war of ideas. He is, arguably, but in many circles indisputably, the modern age’s godfather of authentic conservative intellectualism. Seen in their completeness, this compendium of commentaries disclose his extraordinary breadth and thought as a social critic and an ethical teacher. He is a foremost man of letters in the conservative army.” —The Sutherland Institute“If conservatism is to contribute to the urgent task of repairing a torn culture, it must first repair itself. In this magnificent collection of his writings, Russell Kirk, the major prophet of modern American conservatism, brings us back to first principles and reminds us of the things that are permanent. In surveying the past, he illuminates the way ahead.” —Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of History and International Relations, Boston University“Panichas has made a near-perfect selection of 42 essays, arranging them in nine sections that touch on every major theme of Kirk’s more than 40 years of intellectual endeavor. . . . Each of those sections receives a slightly longer introduction, and Panichas has written a Preface to the entire volume that is far more illuminating than much longer, even book-length, treatments of Kirk’s thought.” —Scott P. Richert, Chronicles“George A. Panichas’ superbly edited compilation of Kirk’s essays provides further evidence that a welcomed and long overdue revival of interest in Kirk’s thought is now underway. . . . The product of five years of meticulous editing, The Essential Kirk lives up to its title. Even though Kirk’s essays have been anthologized before (mostly by Kirk himself), this collection is the first to cover the entire spectrum of his life’s work.” —W. Wesley McDonald, The American Conservative“An excellent introduction to a great conservative mind. It’s all non-fiction, so the only thing missing are the ghost stories.” —John J. Miller, National Review Online“Perhaps this well-edited collection will help a new generation to articulate an authentic and thoroughly Christian conservatism while promoting a civil discourse more historically informed and better equipped to understand and address the deepening spiritual crisis of the West.” —Touchstone“With the exception of his unflinching critique of communism, there is next to no discussion of contemporary policy or electoral politics in the 600 pages of eclectic and elegantly woven essays that constitute The Essential Russell Kirk. . . . Kirk believed that the most urgent task consisted in educating hearts and minds through the recovery and renewal of neglected sources of wisdom.” —Peter Berkowitz, Policy Review“The Essential Russell Kirk is a godsend for anyone who cares about post-war American intellectual history, a far more intrinsically interesting and varied subject than the post-war intellectual history of anywhere else in the English-speaking world. One can accord this volume no higher compliment than to say that Kirk himself would have approved of it.” —R.J. Stove, National Observer, Australia“To say that this is a timely volume is to risk understatement. As Europe grapples with its historic identity, as Brussels expands its bureaucratic reach, and with electorates on both sides of the Atlantic divided along ideological lines, a call to remember ‘the permanent things’ in the interest of judging the present is very much in order. Panichas deserves gratitude not only for reproducing these essays in a single volume, but for his learned and insightful introduction to each.” —Jude P. Dougherty, Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America“More than other leaders of the postwar conservative revival, Russell Kirk (along with perhaps Richard Weaver) understood the Christian ancestry of conservatism. Perhaps this well edited collection will help a new generation to articulate an authentic and thoroughly Christian conservatism while promoting a civil discourse more historically informed and better equipped to understand and address the deepening spiritual crisis of the West.” —Touchstone'
Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute