Interview Re: Russell Kirk at CWR

WSJ cover of RAKThank you to Mark Sullivan and Carl E. Olson.

Mention the name “Russell Kirk” to someone who describes himself as “conservative” and you are likely to get a blank look or, at best, be told, “I’ve heard the name.” (Readers of CWR may be an exception.) Granted, Kirk (1918-1994) has been dead for over 20 years and is has been over 60 years since the publication in 1953 of his masterpiece, The Conservative Mind, which made him something of a media celebrity. Still, his writings, ideas, and the intellectual tradition he represents have deep roots in the Catholic faith and address many of the unique features and challenges of being American, and so are worth studying.

Dr.  Bradley Birzer, the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and professor at Hillsdale College, is the author of a new biography, titled Russell Kirk: American Conservative. (University of Kentucky Press, 2015). It is a very good and timely introduction to Kirk, drawing on Birzer’s access to hundreds of unpublished letters and articles by Kirk.  To give readers unfamiliar with Kirk a bit of an introduction, I asked Dr. Birzer to comment on a few passages from The Conservative Mind (Seventh Edition) during our interview.


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