The growth of conservatism is arguably the most significant development in American political life in the past half century. In 1953, the famous Columbia critic Lionel Trilling proclaimed, "In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation. . . . The conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not . . . express themselves in ideas but only . . . in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." But already change was stirring. That same year Russell Kirk published The Conservative Mind, the first of many books by many thinkers that would shape an intellectual movement. That intellectual movement would, in turn, inspire a broader political movement that has fundamentally altered the contours of American life—and even, in the final confrontation with Soviet communism which brought that great tyranny to an end, the life of the whole world.