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Summary

When it was first published, The Conscience of a Conservative reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star. It influenced countless conservatives in the United States and helped to lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution in 1980. Just as vital today as it was then, this book addresses many topics that could be torn from today's headlines. Goldwater discusses education, labor unions and policies, civil rights, agricultural policy and farm subsidies, social welfare programs, and income taxation. This significant book lays out the conservative position both politically and economically that would come to dominate the Conservative Movement in America.

Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor

Critic reviews

"For a man who proudly described himself as 'simple,' Barry Goldwater remains a historical puzzle." (Angus Burgin, The New York Sun)

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  • Arizona Sportsman
  • 10-03-15

Great American - great ideology

Goldwater is significantly underrated as an American Statesman.

History now tells us that Goldwater's stance on Communism and particularly, Soviet relations was not as radical as it may have seemed to Americans in the early 60s.

Painted (unfairly) in the 1964 election as a war monger, Goldwater's cold shoulder to the Soviets may have brought an end to the communist rule of the eastern bloc nations much earlier. It would be 20+ years before Reagan would tell Gorbachev to "tear down this wall". But perhaps Goldwater would have said this in the mid-60s instead.

Goldwater's economic views are SPOT on, and had the conservative views been used in the late 60s and early 70s - the inflationary mess of the late 70s/early 80s may never have come to fruition.

Count me as a fan of Goldwater. His views would work well for our nation today.

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  • Nuts About Books!
  • 26-06-16

Mostly excellent

This is a political text, not a story. I don't agree 100%, but such a refreshing view on politics this is! It's not politically correct and it's not phony. However his attitude on nuclear weapons is misguided at best, psychotic at worst. Nevertheless, he makes many very salient and material points even to this generation.

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  • Blake
  • 22-01-15

Powerful, timeless concepts.

Many of the issues we face today are almost identical, although the major players are different. This book really makes you think about the rule of law and the importance of principled domestic and foreign policy.

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  • Jean
  • 16-08-18

Interesting

I first read this book when it was published in 1960. At that time Goldwater was considered the far-right wing of the republican party. I found it fascinating to reread this considering all the changes that have occurred since 1960. Goldwater is now considered too liberal for the conservative party. Many of the methods Goldwater sited for reducing government were found over time not to work and many of his other ideas and beliefs were proven not workable. To be fair some ideas did work successfully. I was appalled at his stand on civil rights. He refusal to accept Brown v Board of Education. He also did not think the federal government should be involved in education or welfare.

The book was well written and easy to read. The book was actually written by Goldwater’s speech writer, L. Brent Bozell. Bozell was William F. Buckley’s brother-in-law. Most of the book is dated. I found it helpful to take a step back in time and review how much the pollical parties have changed since 1960. Maybe it is time for the parties to re-evaluate themselves considering the extreme divide in the country today. Maybe it is time to return to the middle.

The book is very short at almost three hours. Johnny Heller does an excellent job narrating the book. Heller is a voice-over artist and award-winning audiobook narrator. He was Publisher Weekly’s best audiobook narrator for 2008, 2009, and 2011. Heller won the Listen-up Award in 2008 to 2013 and was an Audie Award Nominee in 2014.

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  • Carl Thompson
  • 14-11-17

Political Prophet

This book should be required reading. His book foretold the presidency of Reagan and the positive results. I'm a democrat, but Goldwater was correct. Every word.
The book was short, but powerful. No filler.

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  • Jordan M. Mackey
  • 25-06-17

Quite the interesting read and rare insight.

it was quite curious reading and listening to this particular take on conservativism. this particular book help to touch on many of the current policies that America has strayed so very far away from yet current leaders are trying to re-enact and deeply push for. if you are curious with the Playbook is for current active conservatives you might want to listen to this regardless of your political standing.

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  • Juan Nieto
  • 18-06-18

Very articulate arguments for the conservative POV

I do not consider myself a conservative but I really do want to know the other side. This book explains in a lot of detail the conservative point of view away from the arguing talking heads of the 24hr news cycles as well as the crazy voices of talk radio.

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  • Chris Gonzalez
  • 16-02-16

Must Read.

This book is as true then as it is now. I encourage everyone to read this.

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  • C. Stack
  • 03-08-18

A Classic

Filled with great advice. I can see where President Reagan might have gotten ideas on how to win the cold war. It also seems very likely President Trump or his advisors have read the book or listened to the audio. I see a lot of Trump's policies possibly coming from Senator Goldwater.