The Postmodern Prince: Critical Theory, Left Strategy, and the
Making of a New Political Subject. By John Sanbonmatsu. New York:
Monthly Review Press, 2004. 272p. $65.00 cloth, $22.95 paper.
As the title suggests, this book has a great and admirable ambition.
It seeks to write a version of Antonio Gramsci's Modern
Prince for a post–New Left, postmodern era. While it does not
actually do this, it does provide a critical settling of accounts both
with the legacy of the American New Left and the subsequent appearance of
a (largely academic) leftism informed by postmodern theory. More
significantly, it tries to suggest, though very sketchily, what a unitary
actor with strategic acumen and a leftist program might look like, given
the decline of parties of the working class and the fragmentation of
emancipatory social movements. Both the criticism and the reconstructive
aim are informed by Gramsci's emphasis on politics as a struggle for