Mahoney, Daniel J. 1960-
Mahoney, Daniel J. 1960-
PERSONAL: Born 1960. Education: College of Holy Cross, B.A., 1982; Catholic University of America, M.A., 1984, Ph.D., 1988.
ADDRESSES: Office—Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA 01609.
CAREER: Assumption College, Worcester, MA, professor of political science.
AWARDS, HONORS: Prix Raymond Aron, 1999.
The Liberal Political Science of Raymond Aron: A Critical Introduction, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1992.
De Gaulle: Statesmanship, Grandeur, and Modern Democracy, foreword by Pierre Manent, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1996, published with new introduction by Mahoney, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 2000.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2001.
(Translator, with Paul Seaton) Pierre Manent, The Wars of the Twentieth Century, c. 2002.
Bertrand de Jouvenel: The Conservative Liberal and the Illusions of Modernity, ISI Books (Wilmington, DE), 2005.
Raymond Aron, In Defense of Political Reason: Essays, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1994.
(With Paul Seaton, and translator with Seaton, and author of introduction) Pierre Manent, Modern Liberty and Its Discontents: Selected Writings of Pierre Manent, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1998.
(And author of introduction) Aurel Kolnai, “Privilege and Liberty” and Other Essays in Political Philosophy, foreword by Pierre Manent, Lexington Books (Lanham, MD), 1999.
(With Robert Faulkner) Alexander Shtromas, Totalitarianism and the Prospects for World Order: Closing the Door on the Twentieth Century, Lexington Books (Lanham, MD), 2003.
(With Edward E. Ericson, Jr.) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, ISI Books (Wilmington, DE), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including National Interest, Perspectives on Political Science, First Things, and the Wall Street Journal. Associate editor, Perspectives on Political Science. Book review editor, Society.
SIDELIGHTS: Daniel J. Mahoney is a scholar of political science who is well known for his written and edited books on French philosophers and political thinkers, his acclaimed work on Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and his interest in the politics of totalitarian regimes. After publishing a work on the twentieth-century French sociologist, political scientist and philosopher Raymon Aron, The Liberal Political Science of Raymond Aron: A Critical Introduction, Mahoney edited a collection of his essays and then completed De Gaulle: Statesmanship, Grandeur, and Modern Democracy. Here, the author examines the former French president’s influential political philosophy by analyzing the statesman’s speeches and writings. In what Foreign Affairs contributor Stanley Hoffmann called a “perceptive and eloquent” work, Mahoney notes the similarities between Charles de Gaulle’s thought and the ideas of Alexis de Tocqueville and Max Weber and “provides new insight into some of the more problematic aspects of the general’s career,” according to Iain Ogilvie in Perspectives on Political Science. Appreciating how Mahoney employs “textual analysis” to arrive at his conclusions, Ogilvie asserted that “one of the chief merits of the book is that it rescues discourse on the subject from the stereotypical straitjackets of ‘personality cult,’ ‘strong leadership,’ and ‘tyranny.’” The critic found that the book lacked a strong summary paragraph, but concluded that De Gaulle“is a seminal contribution to providing a more balanced account” of de Gaulle.
Even more appreciated is Mahoney’s Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology. Published in 2001, this study was released at a time when Western academics had begun to dismiss the Russian author and philosopher as increasingly irrelevant in the post-Soviet world. Mahoney, on the other hand, defends Solzhenitsyn, representing him as a writer and thinker who has become misunderstood and unjustly denigrated as anti-Semitic and pro-Tsarist. “He reminds us that everything that we have learned since the fall of the Berlin Wall vindicates Solzhenitsyn,” commented Robert P. Kraynak in a First Things review. Kraynak pointed out that many liberal intellectuals have a hard time reconciling Solzhenitsyn’s conservative ideas of Christianity and the state with his equally important belief in individual freedoms. The author supports his thesis by quoting from and analyzing often ignored writings and speeches by the Russian author, in particular his 1993 Liechtenstein Address in which, although Solzhenitsyn remains critical of Western-style materialism, he also makes apparent his love of democracy and faith in this important political experiment. Mahoney also comments on Solzhenitsyn’s championing of the work of former Russian Prime Minister Peter Stolypin, who favored a gradual evolution of politics in Russia from Tsarism to more liberal practices, rather than the abrupt and extreme revolution that came in 1917. “In Mahoney’s view,” Kraynak continued, “Solzhenitsyn is best understood as a Tocquevillean deeply committed to local self-government. To defend this somewhat surprising claim, Mahoney looks to Solzhenitsyn’s personal observations of Switzerland’s Appenzell region, whose citizens impressed him with their old-fashioned character and devotion to local liberty.” Although Kraynak was disappointed that Mahoney does not point out the influence of St. Augustine on Solzhenitsyn’s philosophy, the reviewer concluded that “Mahoney provides the most fair-minded and attractive account of Solzhenitsyn’s political thought to date. The great Russian writer comes alive as an original thinker who combines ancient spiritual wisdom with modern political freedom.”
Other critics of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn were equally enthusiastic about the importance of Mahoney’s work. Echoing Kraynak, Edward E. Ericson, Jr., asserted in the American Enterprise that “Mahoney’s book restores the Russian writer to the relevance he had before Western critics turned away from him. Beyond that, it advances the field of Solzhenitsyn criticism by a quantum leap . . . and Mahoney’s mastery of Solzhenitsyn’s texts is encyclopedic.” Ericson noted that the author reveals the Russian as a distinctly moderate political thinker, further praising Mahoney for practicing “the lost art of close reading” in his analysis of texts. Mahoney “dispels widespread misunderstandings through attention to both the breadth and the depth of Solzhenitsyn’s corpus,” Flagg Taylor wrote in Perspectives on Political Science, reinforcing what other reviewers have said, and “demonstrates Solzhenitsyn’s continuing relevance today.”
Mahoney also published Bertrand de Jouvenel: The Conservative Liberal and the Illusions of Modernity, which is about another French philosopher and political scientist. Continuing “his ever-widening exploration of the religiopolitical question in modernity” with this work, according to Will Morrisey in Perspectives on Political Science, Mahoney describes de Jouvenel as a “conservative liberal.” Reminiscent of Solzhenitsyn, de Jouvenel also treasured tradition and those values of the old aristocracy that were important, as well as Christian spirituality. He also, however, championed political and individual freedoms. “Ma-honey shows himself unmatched among his generation of political scientists in his ability to introduce a thinker to new readers while illuminating him for old readers,” reported Morrisey. A contributor to First Things concluded that the author has “done a brilliant job of bringing [his subject] to life.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
American Enterprise, April-May, 2002, Edward E. Ericson, Jr., review of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology, p. 52.
First Things, December, 1998, Russell Hittinger, review of Modern Liberty and Its Discontents: Selected Writings of Pierre Manent, p. 42; December, 2001, Robert P. Kraynak, review of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, p. 46.
Foreign Affairs, September-October, 1996, Stanley Hoffmann, review of De Gaulle: Statesmanship, Grandeur, and Modern Democracy, p. 146; June-July, 2006, review of Bertrand de Jouvenel: The Conservative Liberal and the Illusions of Modernity, p. 54.
Modern Age, winter-spring, 2004, David J. Bobb, “Resisting the Ideological Lie,” review of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, p. 113.
National Review, December 31, 2006, Paul Hollander, “Writer and Prophet,” review of The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, p. 46.
Perspectives on Political Science, winter, 1997, Iain Ogilvie, review of De Gaulle, p. 60; spring, 1999, Marc D. Guerra, review of Modern Liberty and Its Discontents, p. 117; summer, 2000, “Philosophy,” review of “Privilege and Liberty” and Other Essays in Political Philosophy, p. 191; summer, 2002, review of The Wars of the Twentieth Century, p. 139; Flagg Taylor, review of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, p. 173; spring, 2006, Will Morrisey, review of Bertrand de Jouvenel, p. 116.
Review of Metaphysics, December, 2000, Paul Seaton, review of “Privilege and Liberty” and Other Essays in Political Philosophy, p. 447.