James Burnham (1905-1987) was one of the most influential anticommunist figures of the Cold War era, as Daniel Kelly’s fascinating biography makes clear. But like many anticommunists, Burnham first started on the other side. Kelly tells the story of Burnham’s political journey and intellectual transformation into — as Richard Brookhiser once stated it — “the first neoconservative.” Including fascinating vignettes with characters as diverse as George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, Andre Malraux, and Ezra Pound, Kelly’s lively and definitive narrative must be read not only by anyone interested in the life of this seminal conservative thinker and Cold War strategist, but by all those who want a better understanding of the forces behind the most important ideological clash of the modern age.
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