“If Not Us, Who?”


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If Not Us, Who? takes you on a journey into the life of William Rusher, a key player in shaping the modern conservative movement. Known for his long stint as the publisher of National Review, Rusher wasn’t just a publisher—he was a crucial strategist and thinker in the historic rise of conservatism.

In David B. Frisk’s biography, he dives into Rusher’s extensive papers and interviews with insiders, giving us a fresh look at a career that hasn’t been thoroughly explored before. The story paints a vivid picture of the political landscape spanning over fifty years, filled with hopes, fears, and controversies.

Frisk skillfully brings out the details of Rusher’s time at National Review, revealing a mix of wit, dedication, shrewdness, and earnestness that made him a standout figure. The biography also shines a light on Rusher’s intricate relationship with the legendary Buckley, highlighting his role as a vital link between conservative thinkers and political doers.

The motto often linked to Ronald Reagan, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” perfectly sums up Rusher’s approach, echoing through every aspect of his work. Whether it was publishing National Review, advising political candidates, or participating in televised debates, Rusher was all about building a movement. His relentless efforts played a pivotal role in steering conservatism upward, from the influential Goldwater campaign to the era of Reagan.

Rusher’s career acts as a window into the conservative movement’s history, offering insights into both its triumphs and setbacks. Frisk’s comprehensive biography introduces us again to an extraordinary man of thought and action, highlighting a crucial chapter in the evolution of American conservatism. William Rusher isn’t just a publisher in this story; he’s a dynamic force whose impact echoes in the enduring legacy of the conservative movement.


  • David B. Frisk

    David B. Frisk, Ph.D., is a Resident Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI). He is the author of If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012) and is writing an intellectual biography of the conservative political scientist Willmoore Kendall. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not represent positions of the AHI.

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