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Herbert Croly of the New Republic: The Life…

Herbert Croly of the New Republic: The Life and Thought of an American…

by David W. Levy

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This is a well written, engaging account of Croly's life and thought. Putting Croly's political ideas at the center of the narrative (with a rather fair accounting of his architectural interests, too), this intellectual biography provides insight into the larger contexts of reform liberalism and Progressivism in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, there is no repository of Croly's papers, so a biographer of his must rely on surviving letters in many scattered collections and on Croly's (numerous) publications. At times, because of this limitation of primary sources, the reader is left with a thin account of Croly's life and experiences, but overall Levy seems to do a very admirable job given the limitations.

Some later commentators have suggested that Levy overstates Croly's debt to his father's intellectual Comtean positivism, and I would tend to agree. For an excellent counter-argument to Levy's, see Kevin O'Leary, "Herbert Croly and Progressive Democracy," Polity, vol. 26 (1994).
1 vote pranogajec | Aug 10, 2011 |
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