Extreme Virtue : Truth and Leadership in Five Great American Lives
Extreme Virtue presents a new and radical approach to the problems of leadership and virtue in public life. Originating in the author's newspaper writing about the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, the book grapples with what has gone wrong in the American political system and describes what we should look for in our leaders. Sartwell argues that the real problem is a pervasive lack of truth in political leaders and that more can be accomplished by straight talk than by polling and focus groups. The book consists of biographical portraits of five great Americans: anarchists Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre, conservative senator Barry Goldwater, Lakota spiritual leader John Fire Lame Deer, and black nationalist Malcolm X. The author argues that what makes these figures distinctively American is that each shares a suspicion of power and a vision of individual liberation. Despite their distinctive and unique approaches, each person is a model of truth in public life.
- Hardback | 149 pages
- 158.5 x 235.7 x 14.5mm | 331.13g
- 20 Nov 2003
- State University of New York Press
- Albany, NY, United States
- New ed.
- Total Illustrations: 0
"As with Sartwell's other work, this one is personal in the best way--that is, it has personality and character, rather than being either personal in the sense of self-indulgent or attempting objective impersonality to the point of complete dullness. It is thoroughly opinionated yet never overbearing. It persuasively argues for the virtues of its heroes, and acknowledges their vices, without ever being reduced to apologetics. It makes important and intriguing philosophical points about the nature not only of virtue but of human identity, but it does so almost on the sly, through the stories it tells, such that one is almost surprised at the end to realize that one has so enjoyably come to learn so much."
About Crispin Sartwell
Crispin Sartwell is Chair of Humanities and Sciences at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the author of several books, including most recently End of Story: Toward an Annihilation of Language and History, also published by SUNY Press. His political writing appears in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Harper's, among other outlets. He also writes a syndicated weekly opinion column.