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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The origins of American hostility to intellectualism has perverse origins as the Founding Fathers and those of their social class were all intellectuals….

The Sputnik scare helped. This concept was a more reasonable notion when college education consisted of Greek, Latin and the classics and business practices were simple. The myth can be a lens through which to interpret various administrations. I ended up finishing this up a couple of years later. Yet this minor criticism aside, the book is broad in its scope and powerful in its implications……implications notwithstanding the demise of the beatnik that remain relevant and important today.

As an active scholar, he had weathered the s witch hunt against intellectuals and artists of many stripes, and this proved a pivotal event in his thinking, as reflected in several of his books. That “widely felt” is the giveaway, particularly at polling booths.

All had correctly recognized the incorporation of intellectuals into the mainstream of American society, Hofstadter insists, but they were wrong to believe lfie incorporation necessarily implies a loss of critical perspective. This was my second go-round on this book and inHofstadter’s treatment of American disdain for intellectuals, in particular, and for ideas, more generally, reads like a warning, a jeremiad, even, regarding the downward slide of our political and aesthetic culture.


The book talks about the foundation of America and how intellectual the founding fathers of America were and how they must be flipping from side to side in their graves if they are looking down at that mutation Trump at the helm et in American today!

View all 31 comments. Anti-intellectualism is not only an American thing. Being uneducated, they couldn’t see what the intellectuals were doing, and financed the war against them [by donating hovstadter sums of money to universities and education]. Parents saw the world demanding more complex skills.

Intellectuals doubt their own reason and anti-intellectuals have no doubts in their own certainty. Nov 03, Eugene rated it it was amazing. By the ‘s the self-made man was dead.

Hofstadter’s detailed analysis of Dewey’s work solidifies the indictment.

What I fear is a government of experts. But intellect is always on the move against something: I really appreciated his evaluation of religion, business, and education coupled with this issue of practicality vs. Nov 09, Jonathan rated it it was amazing.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

In recent years, my teasing question for students entering UMW’s teacher education program, particularly those who want to remain in Montana, has been, “Oh, so you’ve taken your vow of poverty already? Both trace a story of rise and fall, over the past four centuries, in the centrality of the book and both, in the late twentieth century, ruefully concede a shifting definition of literacy. As a result of misapplied Deweyan progressivism, itself fundamentally inconsistent, public education has pushed the smart kids aside: He examines the Puritan strain in the American mind and its conflict with secularism in the 18th century; he goes on to the Populist stupidity of glorifying the everyman, while denouncing the expert; to the superstition of revivalist and evangelical religion in both Great Awakenings and the s and the s ; and looking at the beginnings of the New Left though it didn’t yet have that name when the book was publishedthe excessive egalitarianism of the left in the s.


This cult borrowed images and denominational practices particularly from American Protestantism and applied them to the world of business and the intellectialism of self-help. And it turns out they had more than a few antecedents. In short it’s about how America’s insistence that all endeavours must be practical can sometimes become a fault or even a barrier to progress. Thus he was popular and his reforms were taken seriously.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter | : Books

Somehow the notion that somebody might just be better than somebody else at something, without it being a result of identity categories and power imbalances, the idea that somebody nitellectualism a better paper because they are smarter, harder working, or just temperamentally more suited to the discipline is now anathema. Inhe entered the doctoral program in history at Columbia University, where Merle Curti was demonstrating how to synthesize intellectual, social, and political history based upon secondary sources rather than primary-source archival research.

Conservative critics, such as Irwin G.

Arguably, contemporary electronic media have greatly exacerbated this hofstadte. Russell Jacoby’s The Last Intellectuals: This book is not nearly as snotty as the title makes it sound. However, it is strikingly relevant for application in our current society.

Jul 23, Sunny rated it it was amazing Shelves: