Historian Rick Perlstein Really Doesn’t Get Conservatism

Rick Perlstein is a respected historian, and not without reason. Though he is an outspoken man of the left, his first book, Before The Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, earned praise from the right for being a well-researched and relatively nuanced account of a critical developmental era for modern American conservatism. His two books since then, Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, have a more mixed reputation regarding how Perlstein chronicles the right’s path following Nixon and Reagan. (His treatment of Reagan and willingness to employ dubiously sourced attacks on him bear mentioning.) But they are nonetheless works of history worth reading.

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