Robert L. Howse: Thought & Work
...bold and admirable...thoughtful, inventive, and well-argued...
Although willing to admit that war is sometimes necessary, Howse's Strauss articulates an extra-legal and moral-political standard that can be used to judge actions taken during war . Every chapter of this book is filled with a startling number of brilliant and original insights into Leo Strauss' relationship to his contemporaries, his understanding of key texts in the history of political thought, and the character of his overall project. Howse's book will not only spark new debates about, and a renewed interest in Leo Strauss' life and works, but I am convinced that it will also become the new standard by which any books on Strauss are measured. Robert Howse's incisive reconstruction of Leo Strauss's views on the task of political philosophy and the case for liberal democracy makes a superb contribution to the burgeoning body of scholarship on a thinker who is increasingly recognized as a towering figure of twentieth century thought. Drawing on Strauss's intellectual encounters with Carl Schmitt and Alexandre Kojeve, Strauss's interpretations of an array of major figures in the history of political philosophy, and recently released transcripts of Strauss's legendary classes at the University of Chicago, Howse shows that the question of the status of international law was integral to Strauss's philosophical explorations. Howse's book should inspire lively and illuminating debate. Even if you are convinced that nothing new or provocative could possibly be said about Leo Strauss, Rob Howse's book will force you to rethink your position. Both friends and foes of Strauss will find much of interest in this fascinating reinterpretation of one of the canonical figures of twentieth-century political theory. Focusing on Strauss' ideas about political violence, the volume's most important achievement is to lay bare the fundaments of Strauss' oftentimes neglected international political and legal theory. Strauss poses an intellectual challenge to students of international law and politics, and Howse does a wonderful job sketching out that challenge's main features. Howse strips away the layers of ideology in order to restore Strauss to the ranks of the 20th century's greatest thinkers. Howse's writing is admirably easy to read, making Strauss accessible to his critics who were apparently unable to grasp his more fundamental points. As the title makes clear, this book offers the reader a very different Leo Strauss: not one committed to permanent war for the sake of preserving humanity's noble ends against degradation, but rather a profound thinker committed to peace as the only condition in which philosophy, justice, and individuality can flourish. Los Angeles Review of Books,
Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft
Christina Tarnopolsky*
Department of Political Science,
Yale University/Yale NUS College
Peter Berkowitz,
Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
William E. Scheuerman,
Professor of Pol. Sci. and West European Studies,
Director of Graduate Studies, Political Science, Indiana University
GoodReads Christina Tarnopolsky*
Department of Political Science,
Yale University/Yale NUS College
*Christina Tarnopolsky, Dept. of Pol. Sci., Yale University/Yale NUS College "...the new standard by which books on Strauss are measured."* LEO STRAUSS