National Review is now celebrating its fiftieth year of publication. It has been central to and helped shape the American conservative movement. It has also been a home to an astonishing array of talent, not all of it conservative—from Whittaker Chambers and Russell Kirk to Garry Wills and Joan Didion.

Remarkably, the United States has been the only nation in the world to have had a conservative movement. England has had Margaret Thatcher, and her success changed even the Labour Party, but not even England has developed the infrastructure of magazines, newspapers, television networks, commentators, columnists, foundations, think tanks, voluntary associations, and so forth that have emerged as part of a self-aware movement since World War II. In 1984, Ronald Reagan, winning a second term in a landslide, resembled Thatcher in making conservatism central to politics. He was a reader and friend of...


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