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04 November 2001

Thought's on West's Review

Yesterday, I blogged Tom West's review of the first volume (a second is expected) of Harry Jaffa's magnum opus A New Birth of Freedom. Simply as a book review, West's piece shines. It's clear that he has taken the time to understand Jaffa's book on Jaffa's own terms (it does not hurt that West is probably the foremost scholar trained by Jaffa at Claremont), which is a rarity in criticism these days. More book reviews should be as meticulous and thoughtful.

But really, West's piece is more than a book review. West's piece is a review of Jaffa's entire project -- which has not been an insignificant project. Ultimately, I don't know that it will be said that Jaffa influenced the study of American political thought as much as his own mentor, Leo Strauss, influenced the study of political philosophy. But those who study American political thought seriously must deal with Jaffa for reasons West makes clear. That's more than the average book review has to offer!

[Posted @ 11:15 AM CST]

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