ON-Lion Letter

David Horowitz spent the first part of his life in the world of the Communist-progressive left, a politics he inherited from his mother and father, and later in the New Left as one of its founders.  When the wreckage he and his comrades had created became clear to him in the mid-1970s, he left.  Three decades of second thoughts then made him this movement's principal intellectual antagonist.

"For better or worse, I have been condemned to spend the rest of my days attempting to understand how the left pursues the agendas from which I have separated myself, and why," Horowitz writes in the preface to The Black Book of the American Left:  The Collected Conservative Writings of David Horowitz, newly out in paperback from Encounter Books.

Horowitz is founder and chief executive officer of the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

When he began his odyssey, the left had already escaped the political ghetto to which his parents' generation and his own had been confined.  Today, it has become the dominant force in America's academic and media cultures, electing a president and achieving a position from which it can shape America's future.

How the left achieved its present success and what that success portends are the overarching subjects of Horowitz's conservative writings.  Through the unflinching focus of one singularly engaged witness, the identity of a destructive movement that constantly morphs itself in order to conceal its identity and mission becomes disturbingly clear.

In this first volume of his collected writings, Horowitz reflects on the years he spent at war with his own country, collaborating with and confronting radical figures like Huey Newton, Tom Hayden, and Billy Ayers -- as he made his transition from what Paul Berman described as the American left's "most important theorist" to its most determined enemy.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, as is the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

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