“Nisbet’s Eisenhower-era analysis of the modern political predicament looks as prescient as it’s possible for any individual writer to be.”
—ROSS DOUTHAT, from the new introduction to The Quest for Community
One of the leading thinkers to emerge in the postwar conservative intellectual revival was the sociologist Robert Nisbet. His book The Quest for Community, published in 1953, stands as one of the most persuasive accounts of the dilemmas confronting modern society.
Nearly a half century before Robert Putnam documented the atomization of society in Bowling Alone, Nisbet argued that the rise of the powerful modern state had eroded the sources of community—the family, the neighborhood, the church, the guild. Alienation and loneliness inevitably resulted. But as the traditional ties that bind fell away, the human impulse toward community led people to turn even more to the government itself, allowing statism—even totalitarianism—to flourish.
ISI Books is proud to present this new edition of Nisbet’s magnum opus, featuring a brilliant introduction by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and three critical essays. With our communal life growing ever weaker and with more and more Americans looking to national politics for a sense of meaning and belonging, The Quest for Community remains as relevant today as ever.