Richard Hofstadter’s famous Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, his tenth book, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction (). This “personal book,”. For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an By the time Anti-Intellectualism in American Life was published (), he was a . Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American.

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Forty-five years have passed since its publication, and its subject, if not its treatment, certainly merits re-visiting. I know that a great number of people have come to see this as an offensive statement, but I really do think that the most qualified person should always get the job. In considering the historic tension between access to ani and excellence in education, Hofstadter argued that both anti-intellectualism and utilitarianism were consequences, in part, of the democratization of knowledge.

If the intellectual habit centrally consists in a “play of ameriican mind,” some combination of “playfulness and piety” 27then from whence derive the fierce resentments on the part of the majority population?

The overarching point of the book seems to be that since its inception, America has undergone cycles of anti-intellectual sentiment. Intellectuals have found new venues of expression, of course, but they will not be able to raise any bar. Hofstadter’s detailed analysis of Dewey’s work solidifies the indictment.

May 12, Nicole rated it it was amazing Shelves: As a man of his time, Richard Hofstadter was a Communist, and a member of the Young Communist League at university, hofstadetr later progressed to Communist Party membership. Refresh and try again.

Sven Birkerts’s tragic recent history of reading, The Gutenberg Elegiesdeserves mention here, as does Neil Postman’s well-known analysis of the paradigm shift from print to image in Amusing Ourselves to Death Written in the early ‘s this book has shaped my thinking like few others. America was populated by religious dissidents who rejected the oppressiveness and decadence of European society.

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By the end of WWII still only 4 in 10 graduated from high school. For many years, the Bachelor’s degree, in fact, has become the ticket to a job rather than some sort of “vague” preparation for the rest of one’s life. Did people support the John Birch Society because they were ignorant or did the John Birch Society make them ignorant?

Richard seemed to imply overall that intelligence is intelligence inside a system and cognition of all the assumptions that come within that system. Does American society place great importance on recruiting, hiring and retaining the intellechualism best educators for our children?

It traces periods of intellectual flourishing as qmerican as the reactions against them, from the deeply intellectual Founding Fathers to the incoherent and incandescent anti-intellectual aggression of the McCarthy era. Richard Hofstadter — was one of the leading American historians and intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

If anti-intellectualism runs in cycles, the ‘s constituting a high point, has that lingered through the present or is the notion of cycles no longer evident or valid? Not until TR would this image change. When you start to make progressive and non-canon education look like it’s somewhere on a continuum with Bircher wingnuttiness, something has gone wrong, category-wise. For his outstanding coverage of the assassination of President John F.

Hofstader is a great writer and historian imo. Hofstadter’s main problem, as far as I can tell, is that he doesn’t have a working definition for intellectual. To make a virtue of withdrawal in this manner, Hofstadter argues, is to oversimplify: Apparently some School Board or community members don’t want kids hearing an expert discuss scientific evidence of global warming.

Hofstadter’s seminal study rehearses our marginal role by chronicling the long history of American anti-intellectualism. His perception that Americans were being dragged to the ‘lowest common denominator criterion’ of thought and ‘technician conformity’ of lifestyle would seem to have arrived with the current political impasse and cultural Know-Nothingism.


Jan 04, Pages Buy. He may also be aware that in former days–in the times, say, of Andrew Carnegie–the great business leader, despite some hostility, was a cultural-hero.

I mean, that’s the thesis and what the book is setting out to do, and most of it probably does count as anti-intellectual under a strict definition of the term, but it sort of rankled to see any form of populism or attempts at democratic participation in institutions getting lumped in with Bircher loons.

This book points backward to the formation of anti-intellectual tendencies in American history, and points to the present and future intellectuailsm concern. They know they can’t entertain compared to halfbacks or point guards.

Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. A little dry in places. A History of Two Centuries ;particularly its final two chapters. Nothing like coterie language to anger outsiders who might want in.

Their air, manner and conversation are smerican contracted. The fundamentalist religion with a fundamental Americanism often exhibits a mind totally committed and entirely refuse of challenge.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter

This is just a reality we must deal with. Perhaps this problem becomes especially acute in higher education and that is why it strikes me as so clear: Presumably most American intellectuals in the young 21st century make a living in think tanks or in the groves of academe which phrase Mary McCarthy borrowed for her satiric novel.

The age groups and gender lines are dismally predictable older folks read more, younger, less; women read far more than men.

It is excellent and in depth and sadly much of it is still perfectly relevant.