The Intercollegiate Studies Institute recognized “Russell Kirk: The American Conservative,” as this year’s best book to advance conservative principles.
In September, the biography, written by Professor of History Bradley Birzer, won ISI’s Paolucci Award. According to Jed Donahue, ISI vice president of publications, historian Wilfred M. McClay said the book could begin a Kirkian movement.
“Given the confused and dispirited state of American conservatism at the present moment, it is high time for a Russell Kirk revival,” McClay said. “The appearance of Bradley J. Birzer’s splendid and exhaustively researched biography of Kirk just might provide the catalyst needed to set it in motion.”
Birzer’s book beat four other finalists: The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson’s, National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke’s, The Claremont Institute’s Robert Curry, and Sen. Mike Lee, R‑Ut.
Birzer said he wants the biography to distinguish Kirk’s conservatism from today’s mainstream conservatism.
“Kirk’s conservatism was deeply humane,” Birzer said. “He wanted us to conserve the best and the most beautiful of the past.”