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Mr. Viguerie and Mr. Franke noted years later in a book on the movement that “If you are looking for a birth date when the conservative movement emerged out of the womb and announced itself to the public, no other event would qualify better than YAF’s Madison Square Garden rally.”

That monster rally, reported in newspapers and newsmagazines across the country, further fueled the Goldwater movement, which, in turn, led to the rise of Reagan that made conservatism a permanent fixture in American political life.

Wayne Thorburn, who joined YAF in 1961 and eventually became its executive director, has written a great book, filled with the stories behind YAF’s rambunctious history and political growth. There were numerous internal battles along with its successes and YAF is no longer the force it once was, as other groups like Young America’s Foundation have come along to fill much of its mission and extend its influence.

But it is worthwhile reading this absorbing political history of YAF if only to understand anew how a youth organization of like-minded conservatives with energy, imagination, ambition and grit can take on a seemingly insurmountable political foe and triumph in the battle of ideas.

Donald Lambro is the former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times and a nationally syndicated columnist for United Media.