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Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by…

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (original 1963; edition 1966)

by Richard Hofstadter

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991912,944 (4.1)30
Title:Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
Authors:Richard Hofstadter
Info:Vintage (1966), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Ex Libris David G. Nye

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Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter (1963)


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A classic work on the dismissal of intellectual practices in America, differentiated from similar (but less prominent) movements in other parts of the world. The work was written during the Kennedy administration, when intellectualism was slightly in the ascendancy, so his viewpoint about the people who would not take over the world could have seemed valid at that time...there had been several periods where intellectuals were, if not truly valued, at least seen as useful. Since that time, however, it has all been a downhill slide, and the book could easily be written today without too much amendment (just cut and paste some of the chapters on the early 20th century into the early 21st century, update the names, and voila!). It is a vital corrective for anyone who thinks that the current period is somehow unique in American history and just arose out of the blue or even recently. It is the culmination of a thread of anti-intellectualism that has been present in the country since the beginning - before the founders, even. The main complaints are with the length - there is a lot of redundancy that could be shaved out, and that would make it a slightly easier read for people who do not read 400+ page books but could benefit from reading this one. The main other complaint is that books written during this period share a common fallacy - the idea that people were men, and that there were only a few women scattered through history who made contributions. Even in 1963, this was a bit outdated of a worldview, and it grates. Otherwise, a well written, well researched, and important work. ( )
  Devil_llama | Jun 28, 2018 |
Probably the single best book of its type. ( )
  pgiltner | Oct 30, 2017 |
This book seems in many parts, though published 50 years ago, to have been written yesterday. I'm not sure how to start summarizing it, so I won't try; I'll merely say that, having just finished it, it is going immediately into my "re-read" pile. ( )
  dcunning11235 | Oct 17, 2016 |
An excellent history of intellectual life in the United States. Published in 1964 and more relevant today than it was then. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Raymond H. Muessig: The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 45, No. 2

Arthur Bestor: The American Historical Review, Vol. 70, No. 4

Rush Welter: The Journal of American History, Vol. 51, No. 3

Stephen J. Whitfield: Change, Vol. 10, No. 4

Ramsay Cook: International Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1

David Riesman: American Sociological Review, Vol. 26, No. 6

John Tracy Ellis: The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, Jan., 1964

Merle Borrowman: History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4, Dec., 1963
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  TriMosaic | Oct 9, 2014 |
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A book which throws light on many features of the American character. Its concern is not merely to portray the scorners of intellect in American life, but to say something about what the intellectual is, and can be, as a force in a democratic society.… (more)

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