Books: Left-Right

THE NEOCONSERVATIVES by Peter Steinfels Simon & Schuster; 335 pages; $11.95

Right or wrong—and they have been both—left-wing intellectuals have never had much luck in America. The Depression seemed ready to trigger enduring class hatred. But radicals were mistaken about the benignity of Joseph Stalin and the possibilities of domestic Marxism. Their revolution was postponed. Then along came World War II, the postwar boom and millions of house-owning, boat-buying, TV-consuming workers, downtrodden all the way to the bank.

Even when things again went badly for capitalism, the left could not capitalize on its...

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