Summary of Letters to a Young Conservative

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Letters to a Young Conservative book summary
A Reagan Administration whiz kid describes what it means to be an American conservative today.


9 Overall

3 Applicability

6 Innovation

9 Style


Dinesh D’Souza has produced earlier incisive, groundbreaking books. Illiberal Education and The End of Racism are both thought-provoking reads for conservatives and liberals alike, but this is one has an additional purpose: a comprehensive outline of conservative doctrine and a blanket condemnation of the opposing points of view. D’Souza revisits some previously published opinions, and if he doesn’t always support them with fact, he does bring heartfelt argument to the fore. He also refers back to his other two books when illumination is needed. The book, as the title suggests, is formatted as a series of letters to a college student, complete with fond recollections of the author’s days as a conservative firebrand at Dartmouth. Even constrained by this gimmick, D’Souza is an entertaining writer who delights in, "harpooning liberals," eloquently if with slight regard for fairness. recommends this book as an ideological dessert for potential conservatives, more than as a soup-to-nuts guide to conservatism - and its no-shades-of-gray approach may even help liberals prepare their counterarguments.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The author’s interpretation of the differences among conservatism, liberalism and libertarianism;
  • The tenets of modern American conservatism; and
  • How Republicans can keep their Congressional majority and enact their agenda.


Conservatives, Libertarians and Liberals
Conservatives in the United States keep the flame of the American Revolution. They seek to conserve the founding fathers’ dream of a society free from economic, political and religious oppression. This is a very different meaning of conservatism...
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About the Author

Dinesh D’Souza, the Rishwain Research Scholar at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, served as senior domestic policy analyst in the Reagan White House in 1987 and 1988. He is the author of Illiberal Education, The End of Racism, Ronald Reagan, The Virtue of Prosperity and What’s So Great About America?

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