The Conscience of a Paleoconservative

Princeton University Press’s deluxe re-release of Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative last summer has apparently brought forth a slew of other, cash-in re-releases of the book as well. (I’m not sure who controls the rights to Conscience, but whoever it is appears to be very generous.) Editions of the book are proliferating, and just yesterday I ran across a rather interesting one from MJF Books.

The MJF edition has two things going for it. First, it’s hardcover, though affordably priced. Barnes and Noble has it on sale for $5.98 — compare that to the $14.95 cover price for Princeton’s paperback edition. Second, it includes not only Patrick Buchanan’s 1990 introduction to the Regnery edition of the book but also a chapter from PJB’s Where the Right Went Wrong, “American Empire at Apogee.” That makes this in effect the paleocon edition of Conscience.

On the downside, this edition suffers from editorial negligence. Although “apogee” is spelled correctly on the title page of the Buchanan chapter, it’s misspelled in the running head on subsequent pages — “epogee.” That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mitigate the value of the book. It’s worth six bucks just to have a hardcover of Conscience, and the PJB material sweetens the deal.

Here’s what it looks like:

Conscience of a Paleoconservative

Buying it on-line is a little tricky: doesn’t seem to have it listed at all, and the Barnes and Noble listing doesn’t provide any edition-specific details, though I know it’s the right one because the ISBN matches. (The ISBN is 9781567319033.) In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s only available from Barnes and Noble. A rather mysterious edition — I’m not familiar with MJF Books — but a good one.


7 thoughts on “The Conscience of a Paleoconservative

  1. dylan waco March 14, 2008 / 10:52 pm


    I think MJF is a B/N imprint. I work for Barnes & Noble and this book is actually part of a promotion in the Bargain department right now. It is a nationwide promotion, so every store in the country should have this book prominently displayed (likely an endcap in the Bargain section).


  2. Daniel McCarthy March 14, 2008 / 11:20 pm

    Thanks, that explains a few things. I noticed that the design and binding of the book resembled what I’ve seen on B&N’s own imprints. The copy I picked up was indeed prominently displayed in the bargains section (along with Mr. Buchanan’s most recent book, Day of Reckoning. Sad to see the latter hit the bargain bin so quickly, but it gives readers a chance to pick if up inexpensively). Kudos to whoever at B&N/MJF thought of packaging Conscience with “American Empire at Apogee” and Mr. Buchanan’s 1990 introduction, “The Voice in the Desert.”

  3. Brent Burk March 15, 2008 / 12:38 am

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for a hardcover edition. One misspelling, but ehhhh, could be worse.

  4. Lester Hunt March 15, 2008 / 12:51 am

    This was the book that started me thinking about politics. One day, in 1962, I was walking home from school and found a paperback copy in a gutter. I picked it up, read it, and was never the same again. And I still have that copy.

  5. Brent Burk March 15, 2008 / 12:51 am

    I often feel stupid buying books for $5 on the internet while paying another $5 for shipping which diminishes the point of getting it cheap. But the nearest Barnes and Noble is 19 miles away in the city. I’d be paying more for gas just to get the thing, so I guess it’s worth it. 🙂

  6. dylan waco March 15, 2008 / 3:30 am


    You’d be fairly shocked how quick a lot of these books go to Bargain these days. In fact bestsellers generally “fall off” to Bargain status quicker than other titles for the simply fact that the publishers print huge numbers and will do whatever they can to recoup some of the costs before the book hits trade paper format.

    The latest practice is for some books to drop to fifty percent in hardcover format, then fall to Bargain status without leaving the store. For example the recent collection of letters from William Buckley, “Cancel Your Own God Damn Subscription”, which is at 50% off of list price now, but will be a Bargain book by the end of the month (and worth picking up, regardless of your feelings on Buckley).

    Also, I noticed a few weeks back that “American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia” is available in hardcover format for 7.98 as a Bargain title. It is currently my staff pick and has sold several copies over the last couple of days. Hard to imagine a better deal than that.


  7. h ogara May 14, 2008 / 5:01 pm

    i do acquisitions for a small library in califiornia and don’t order unless i’m familiar with the publisher. i’ve had a very difficult time trying to locate some information on mjf book publishers. my searching ended up with a company that originated from tehran. can anyone shed some light on this publishing company, as it appears it’s ownership is being kep in the dark. thank you.

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