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The Conservative Sensibility (Hardcover)

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New York Times Bestseller

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, an "astonishing" and "enthralling" (Booklist) new examination of how the Founders' belief in natural rights created a great American political tradition--"easily one of the best books on American Conservatism ever written" (Jonah Goldberg).

For more than four decades, George F. Will has attempted to discern the principles of the Western political tradition and apply them to America's civic life. Today, the stakes could hardly be higher. Vital questions about the nature of man, of rights, of equality, of majority rule are bubbling just beneath the surface of daily events in America.

The Founders' vision, articulated first in the Declaration of Independence and carried out in the Constitution, gave the new republic a framework for government unique in world history. Their beliefs in natural rights, limited government, religious freedom, and in human virtue and dignity ushered in two centuries of American prosperity. Now, as Will shows, conservatism is under threat--both from progressives and elements inside the Republican Party. America has become an administrative state, while destructive trends have overtaken family life and higher education. Semi-autonomous executive agencies wield essentially unaccountable power. Congress has failed in its duty to exercise its legislative powers. And the executive branch has slipped the Constitution's leash.

In the intellectual battle between the vision of Founding Fathers like James Madison, who advanced the notion of natural rights that pre-exist government, and the progressivism advanced by Woodrow Wilson, the Founders have been losing. It's time to reverse America's political fortunes.

Expansive, intellectually thrilling, and written with the erudite wit that has made Will beloved by millions of readers, The Conservative Sensibility is an extraordinary new book from one of America's most celebrated political writers.

About the Author


George F. Will writes a twice-weekly syndicated column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for the Washington Post. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977. He is also a regular contributor to MSNBC and NBC News. His fourteen previous books include One Man's America, Men at Work, and Statecraft as Soulcraft. Will grew up in Champaign, Ill., attended Trinity College and Oxford University and received a PhD from Princeton.

Praise For…


"A blockbuster - if a book so thoughtful and learned and graceful can be called a 'blockbuster.'"—JAY NORDLINGER, National Review


"A monumental achievement. The Conservative Sensibility is not a 'Washington book' about partisan politics--it's much bigger than that. It's a career capstone that will stir your soul with its passionate reminder of what conservatism really means. Buy it, read it, share it."
Senator Ben Sasse, New York Times-bestselling author of Them and The Vanishing American Adult


"Staggeringly good. Easily one of the best books on American Conservatism ever written."—Jonah Goldberg


"Most Americans would agree, I think, that America is exceptional, but
nailing down exactly why can be a matter of contention. With his typical
pellucid prose, George Will provides an exceptionally elegant
explanation in ... The Conservative Sensibility."—Kyle Smith, National Review


"The Conservative Sensibility ... is an argument about human history, epistemology, culture, religion, politics and constitutionalism, and not another vehicle for soon-dated Trump hagiography or hatred.... Its account of how the presidency has taken over the legislature in the modern era is essential to understanding the extreme danger that a figure like Trump now poses to core constitutional principle."—ANDREW SULLIVAN, New York Times Book Review

"It's wonderful... [Will's] magnum opus... elegant."
Hugh Hewitt


"A wonderful book... that [will] be read for a long time."—Dana Perino, Fox News


"Sums up a lifetime of thinking about politics and culture."
The New York Times


"Brilliant."—The Los Angeles Times


"Excellent... [T]here is a sense of finality in The Conservative Sensibility, as though Will is offering his ultimate statement if not his last word.... Will has produced one of the best books about American conservatism ever to have been written."—Kevin D. Williamson, The Washington Examiner


"George Will has led conservative thought for decades. In his latest book, he defines it."—"The Gist" podcast on Slate.com


"[A] strong affirmation of inalienable individual rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.... Will, a Goldwater/Reagan/Buckley Republican, has left the party. But he might argue that the party has left him, and this book can serve as a blueprint for how it might return."—John R. Coyne, Jr., Washington Times

"[A] splendid magnum opus on the meaning of American conservatism.... essential reading for Americans interested in understanding our present discontents and in reversing our political fortunes."
George J. Marlin, Newsmax.com


"The most considerable conservative book since Kirk's [The Conservative Mind].... The richness and depth of Will's study is astonishing.... Everyone interested in American politics and liberal democracy will find it enthralling."—Booklist (starred review)


"A richly documented history of and argument for a wider embrace of conservative political values."—Kirkus Reviews


"[Will is] one of the most consequential thinkers in the history of the conservative movement... To say that Will wrote a brilliant book brings new meaning to understatement.... A great read.... Will's discussion of the Constitution positively sizzles... Unputdownable."—John Tamny, RealClearMarkets

"A clarion call for substantive thinking, at a time when Americans are hungry for strong leadership and a renewed debate for the soul of our country."—"Therefore, What?" Podcast

"The summa of a lifetime's worth of thinking about politics.... Will's good sense, power of reasoning, historical knowledge, and stylistic flair on full display here.... Masterful."—Commentary magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316480932
ISBN-10: 0316480932
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2019
Pages: 640