Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape
Since Goldwater’s death in 1998, politicians, pundits, and academics have been assessing his achievements and his shortcomings. The twelve essays in this volume thoroughly examine the life, times, and impact of “Mr. Conservative.” Scrutinizing the transformation of a Phoenix department store owner into a politician, de facto political philosopher, and five-time US senator, contributors highlight the importance of power, showcasing the relationship between the nascent conservative movement’s cadre of elite businessmen, newsmen, and intellectuals and their followers at the grassroots—or sagebrush—level.
Goldwater, who was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909, was deeply influenced by his Western upbringing. With his appearance on the national stage in 1964, he not only articulated a new brand of conservatism but gave a voice to many Americans who were not enamored with the social and political changes of the era. He may have lost the battle for the presidency, but he energized a coalition of journalists, publishers, women’s groups, and Southerners to band together in a movement that reshaped the nation.
"The insightful pieces in this book offer a vision of the historical specificity of midcentury postwar conservatism."—The Journal of American History
“The essays making up the chapters are interesting, well researched, and thought-provoking.”—Mary Brennan, author of Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace: Conservative Women and the Crusade Against Communism
“This anthology is important on a national level because it serves to describe how Goldwater played a vital role in the rise of the conservative movement in post-WWII America. . . . Political junkies in Arizona and elsewhere will consider this required reading.”—Journal of Arizona History
“Shermer reframes important controversies such as the relationship between southern and western conservatism, between religious and business conservatism, and between elite and grassroots mobilizations on the right.”—Bruce J. Schulman, author of The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics