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Richard Hofstadter (1916–1970)

Autor(a) de Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

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About the Author

DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University from 1959 until the time of his death, Richard Hofstadter was one of the most influential historians in post--World War II America. His political, social, and intellectual histories raised serious questions about assumptions that had long mostrar mais been taken for granted and cast the American experience in an interesting new light. His 1948 work, The American Political Tradition, is an enduring classic study in political history. His 1955 work, The Age of Reform, which still commands respect among both historians and general readers, won him that year's Pulitzer Prize. A measure of Hofstadter's standing in literary and scholarly circles is the honors he received in 1964 for Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963)---Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize of Phi Beta Kappa, and the Sidney Hillman Prize Award. Hofstadter's greatest talent, however, may have been his ability to order complex events and issues and to synthesize from them a rational, constructively critical perspective on American history. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos


Obras de Richard Hofstadter

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963) — Autor — 1,391 cópias
The Age of Reform (1955) 748 cópias
Social Darwinism in American Thought (1955) — Autor — 432 cópias
American Violence: A Documentary History (1970) — Editor — 73 cópias
The American Republic (1959) 27 cópias
La Démocratie américaine au XXe siècle (2000) — Contribuinte — 7 cópias
Progressive Historians (1994) 3 cópias
The United States (1982) 2 cópias
The United States: A world power (1976) 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

Darwin (Norton Critical Edition) (1970) — Contribuinte, algumas edições652 cópias
The Varieties of History: From Voltaire to the Present (1956) — Contribuinte — 327 cópias
The Radical Right: The New American Right (1963) — Contribuinte — 93 cópias
William Jennings Bryan and the campaign of 1896 (1953) — Contribuinte — 13 cópias
The Hofstadter aegis, a memorial (1974) — Honoree — 9 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Nome padrão
Hofstadter, Richard
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Buffalo, New York, USA
Local de falecimento
New York, New York, USA
Causa da morte
Locais de residência
Buffalo, New York, USA (birth)
New York, New York, USA
University of Buffalo (BA ∙ History ∙ 1937)
Columbia University (MA ∙ History ∙ 1938)
Columbia University (Ph.D ∙ History ∙ 1942)
Fosdick-Masten Park High School
professor (college)
Columbia University
University of Maryland
Pulitzer Prize (History | 1956)
Pulitzer Prize (1964)
Pequena biografia
The historian Richard Hofstadter was a core member of the group of postwar Columbia intellectuals that included Lionel Trilling, Jacques Barzun, Robert Merton, and Daniel Bell. At a time when politics were assumed essentially to reflect economic interests, Hofstadter began studying alternative explanations for political conduct: unconscious motives, status anxieties, irrational hatreds, paranoia. Hofstadter wrote some of the most influential books to appear in American political and cultural history, among them The Age of Reform (1955) and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963), both recognized with Pulitzer Prizes, and the celebrated The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1965). His American Political Tradition (1948), an enduring classic, remains today a standard work in both college and high-school history classes and has been read by millions outside the academy.

After earning his MA and PhD from Columbia, Hofstadter joined the faculty in 1946. He was named the DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History in 1959 and remained at the University until his untimely death from leukemia in 1970. Many of Hofstadter's graduate students have gone on to important scholarship and teaching. One of them, Eric Foner, the current DeWitt Clinton Professor, says, “He played brilliantly the role of intellectual mentor so critical to any student's graduate career. For all his accomplishments, he was utterly without pretension, always unintimidating, never too busy to talk about one's work.” In 1968, following the campus disruptions that spring, Hofstadter delivered the commencement address, in which he defended Columbia as “a center of free inquiry and criticism—a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else."



The title of this awarded book from the 1960s immediately stood out to me in light of recent political events, and it did not disappoint. From its earliest days, a distinct class of intellectuals has sought a strong role in American society. Puritan divines, for all their shortcomings, set in motion an intellectual movement that continues to this day, especially throughout New England. America’s national founding generation also consisted of intellectually informed men to orient the country towards higher ideals.

Yet after that generation passed, the highbrow John Quincy Adams lost the presidency to folksy Andrew Jackson in a peaceful revolution. Ever since Jacksonian democracy found its place, American politics have never been the same. Populism replaced dispassionate discourse as the prime driver of elections and decision-making. Most viewed intellectualism and high culture not as avenues for effective leadership but as a weird subculture that they do not want to associate with. This attitude maintained itself throughout the Gilded Age.

Teddy Roosevelt’s reforms of the early twentieth century similarly gave way to subsequent crassness. To counter the Great Depression and win World War II, FDR relied upon a “brain trust” and military intelligence to guide his steps. The need for national experts was clearly seen. To the author, that need became swept aside in the 1950s but returned in JFK’s Camelot era, around the time of this book’s publishing. Eras after this book have seen an ebb and flow of intellectual culture, but today, the nerdiness required for technology, at least, will likely remain.

Richard Hofstadter does an excellent job of capturing this history. Indeed, I can’t find many recent findings to update his historical analysis, which comprise the first two-thirds of this book. He then enters into a section on education. This digression is clearly based on controversies of his time, 60 years ago. Pros and cons of John Dewey’s views play a prominent role. The field of education has since moved onto new challenges, but the spirit of many battles remain. Similarly, his concluding view of the trajectory of American culture is likewise dated, but many of the figures stand out as still noteworthy decades later.

Reading contemporary newspapers’ political pages can make readers feel like they’re alone in valuing the mind’s appreciation for cultural idealism. This book reminds us that many Americans before us experienced similar tensions between their ideals and their fellow citizens. Today’s clashes remain important, but they are not totally new, as Hofstadter’s noteworthy critique shows us. It doesn’t signal a surefire way to avoid these controversies, unfortunately, but it does provide solace that those of us who enjoy a life of the mind have never been alone.
… (mais)
scottjpearson | outras 17 resenhas | Nov 7, 2023 |
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 | outras 17 resenhas | Aug 12, 2023 |
I read sections of this book over and over, trying to get a grasp on politics, and finding this revisionist history much more interesting than what I learned in high school.
mykl-s | outras 12 resenhas | Aug 5, 2023 |



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