Is the reviewer being too polite here? Or does the restraint make the message even more clear?
Precisely because this volume is likely to be widely read and used, however, it is worth critically reflecting both on its construction and on the tradition of political philosophy it represents. In particular, some commentary on the choice of thinkers and topics for a book claiming the authoritative title "Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century" is inevitable. In the introduction, Zuckert lists a number of thinkers who "could and perhaps should have been included," (p. 15) among them Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir's inclusion would have assured some direct reflection on the question of gender, as well as served as a marker of one of the most fundamental social and political developments of the twentieth century, the dramatic challenges to traditional gender roles and the expansion of women's rights and participation in politics. That a chapter on Beauvoir was not included is indeed regrettable.
Equally inexplicable is the exclusion of any sustained engagement with questions of race (indeed, no thinker primarily concerned with race even makes Zuckert's "B" list of should-have-been-includeds). Insofar as race was one of the central, constitutive components of twentieth-century politics and the central pivot point for civic activism and debates over social change in the postwar United States, this exclusion is impossible to justify. Further, insofar as one of the main uses of this text will be (as noted above) to allow different parts of the political tradition to speak to one another, it would have been a great virtue if the volume had slightly broadened the conception of what it is to do political philosophy by including a social theorist like W.E.B. DuBois, Oliver Cromwell Cox, or Frantz Fanon -- or alternatively, an essay focused on the rich discussions of the meaning of democracy and by extension the political condition found in mid-century African-American authors such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright.
Readers are invited to suggest authors for inclusion, and / or to discuss how "political philosophy" is conceived such that the choices of this volume are possible.