Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: The United States: Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: The United States: Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century

Article excerpt

Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century BY DANIEL OPPENHEIMER. Simon & Schuster, 2016, 416 pp.

Converts are often odd, and Oppenheimer's engaging study of six prominent left-wingers who wound up on the right illustrates the eccentricities that have made people such as Whittaker Chambers (Soviet sympathizer and spy turned anticommunist conservative), David Horowitz (Black Panther supporter turned right-wing crusader) and Christopher Hitchens (antiwar socialist turned Iraq war cheerleader) almost as irritating to their new associates as they were to their old ones. But the 70 years between Chambers' work with the Soviet spy apparatus and Hitchens' support for the Bush administration saw such profound changes in the structure of U.S. politics that Oppenheimer's attempt to place these six conversion stories in a common frame is less illuminating than one might hope. …

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