Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Paranoid Style in American Politics and…

The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays (1965)

by Richard Hofstadter

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
303436,938 (3.89)8



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
This book is referenced a lot so it was time for me to read the original. It was an entertaining read about numerous examples of American paranoid movements in history. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 18, 2016 |
Most of us know the basics of this history--fears of Masonic conspiracies in the early period of the Republic, fears of Catholics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with all the new immigints, McCarthyism, the great burgeoning that was just taking place when Hofstadter was writing such that conspiracyism is now its own kind of kitsch and aliens killed the JFK clone on 9/11, and the details are a bit much for the casual reader, but Hofstadter's dissection of the (grandiose, black-and-white, obsessive) personality characteristics of the type and contribution of the term "paranoid style" are worth a good deal. ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Oct 30, 2015 |
Six decades past publication, it is remarkable how much Hofstadter's analyses the conservative fringe have retained their lucidity, not least because the circumstances between then and now are too similar.

For example - why were the Birther movement/John Birch Society, and McCarthyism/Anti-Muslim scare as prominent as they were, then and now? Both Eisenhower and Obama were centrist presidents, what could have offended them? Granted, there is discontent with Obama because of the economy, and Eisenhower on foreign policy, but why this new criticism clouding debate?

Hofstadter classifies this as the 'paranoid style' - not necessarily limited to conservatism, but broadly associated with it. It includes a fear of compromise (seen in both Eisenhower and Obama), and redefining the opponent into a broadly conspiratorial role, which must be defeated utterly. In both cases, the accused are associated with international Communism.

He also identifies ethnic character as having a possible background to this perversion, and having it stretch back to the 19th century, and the first waves of immigrants, who would contaminate American culture and use foreign customs to destroy the traditional way of life. The Anglo-Saxons feared the Irish and Catholicism. Then they feared the Germans. Then the Eastern Europeans and Italians. Then the East Asians. And now primarily the Hispanics.

Another question is the personification of the extreme Fringe in conservatism - some 50 years ago it was Barry Goldwater, whose brinksmanship was very tempting in an era of national crisis - and yet so terrifying to a sufficient majority that LBJ trounced him.

The rest of the essays do not strictly deal with paranoia and extreme conservatism, but they deal with relatively obscure topics fluently.

One of my surprise favorites was on the crisis of bimetallism in the 19th century. It's oddly fascinating, and one now thinks of the modern day 'gold bugs' at our Beck and Paul, conspiring against International Finance as much as demagogues in the 19th century feared International Jewry.

A new dose for the politics junkie. Worth the read. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Although I was more interested in the essays included in the first half of the book, on the history of paranoid (political) thought in the U.S., all of Hofstadter's essays are incredibly well thought-out, and give careful consideration to as many sides as possible of the issue he's considering. Excellent historical work. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Apr 10, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (6)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307388441, Paperback)

This timely reissue of Richard Hofstadter's classic work on the fringe groups that influence American electoral politics offers an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs.In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, acclaimed historian Richard Hofstadter examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe groups can influence — and derail — the larger agendas of a political party. He investigates the politics of the irrational, shedding light on how the behavior of individuals can seem out of proportion with actual political issues, and how such behavior impacts larger groups. With such other classic essays as “Free Silver and the Mind of 'Coin' Harvey” and “What Happened to the Antitrust Movement?, ” The Paranoid Style in American Politics remains both a seminal text of political history and a vital analysis of the ways in which political groups function in the United States.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
84 wanted2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.89)
1 1
1.5 1
3 6
3.5 1
4 9
5 9

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,858,597 books! | Top bar: Always visible