Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? The Truth about Leo Strauss puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate an oversimplified view of a complex and wide-ranging philosopher. In doing so, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure.
Catherine and Michael Zuckert—both former students of Strauss—guide readers here to a nuanced understanding of how Strauss’s political thought fits into his broader philosophy. Challenging the ideas that Strauss was an inflexible conservative who followed in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss’s signature idea was the need for a return to the ancients. Through their work, they conclude that Strauss was a sober defender of liberal democracy, aware of both its strengths and its weaknesses.
Balanced and accessible, The Truth about Leo Strauss is a must-read for anyone who wants to more fully comprehend this enigmatic philosopher and his much-disputed legacy.
“The Truth about Leo Strauss is the most balanced and insightful book yet written about Strauss’s thought, students, and political influence. It dispels myths promulgated by both friends and foes and persuasively traces the conflicting paths that American thinkers indebted to Strauss have taken.”—William Galston, Brookings Institution