Exit Right is a flawed book, but it is flawed in the particular way that only great books can be. It fails to fully answer the impossibly ambitious questions it lays out, but its insights are so absorbing that it doesn’t matter. Its stories only partially fit Oppenheimer’s underlying argument, but the prose is so perfect you barely realize it. And just when you think you understand what propels and paralyzes one of his characters, the author moves to another. This book proves so satisfying precisely because it leaves you wanting much more.
This is Oppenheimer’s first book, but he writes with the assurance and historical command of someone who has been thinking about his topic for a long time. The colors of his own flag are hard to discern, which makes him a reliable guide.
A tale of brave, lonely men facing a hostile world is the message Oppenheimer wishes to leave with his readers. This simply does not ring true, since none of these men made the turn by themselves ... In spite of these criticisms, Exit Right grabbed me as few books have done in recent years. This is political history at a very high level, especially when American politics seems to reach new lows every day. What a pleasure it is to be reminded that ideas do matter, and that those who devote their lives to them are doing something worthwhile.