The modern conservative intellectual movement began in 1953 with Russell Kirk’s groundbreaking book The Conservative Mind. Four years later, he published a pithy, wry, philosophical summary of what conservatism really means. Originally titled The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Conservatism, this little book was essentially a popular version of The Conservative Mind.
Now, a century after its author’s birth, this neglected gem has been recovered. It remains what Kirk intended it to be: an accessible introduction to conservative ideas, especially for the young. With a new title and an introduction by the eminent intellectual historian Wilfred M. McClay, Russell Kirk’s Concise Guide to Conservatism arrives with uncanny timing. The movement that Kirk defined in 1953 is today so contested and fragmented that no one seems able to say with confidence what conservatism means.
This book, as fresh and prophetic as the day it was published sixty years ago, is a reminder that no one can match Russell Kirk in engaging people’s minds and imaginations—an indispensable task in reviving our civilization.
Russell Kirk (1918-1994), historian of ideas, critic, essayist, editor and novelist, was the author of thirty-two books. Among them are The Conservative Mind, The Roots of American Order, America's British Culture, The Politic of Prudence, Eliot and His Age, Enemies of the Permanent Things, Edmund Burke, Redeeming the Time, John Randolph of Roanoke, and six works of fiction. His memoirs, The Sword of Imagination, were published posthumously. He received twelve honorary doctorates from American universities and many awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal. The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, founded in 1995 and based in Mecosta, Michigan, continues his work to defend "the permanent things" today.