This is the first biography of the Jewish-American intellectual Norman Podhoretz, longtime editor of the influential magazine Commentary. As both an editor and a writer, he spearheaded the countercultural revolution of the 1960s and – after he “broke ranks” – the neoconservative response. For years he defined what was at stake in the struggle against communism; recently he has nerved America for a new struggle against jihadist Islam; always he has given substance to debates over the function of religion, ethics, and the arts in our society. The turning point of his life occurred, at the age of forty near a farmhouse in upstate New York, in a mystic clarification. It compelled him to “unlearn” much that he had earlier been taught to value, and it also made him enemies. Revealing the private as well as the public man, Thomas L. Jeffers chronicles a heroically coherent life.