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. 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. Richard Hofstadter’s famous Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, his tenth book, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction (). This “personal book,”.

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He tells a good but familiar history, and it was free from Hoopla and was listenable. He sees himself enmeshed in the bureaucratic regulations of a welfare state that is certainly no creation of HIS; he feels hofstdter is checkmated by powerful unions and regarded suspiciously by a public constantly piqued by intellectuals.

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 Ajti though it didn’t yet have that name when the book was publishedthe excessive egalitarianism of the left in the s. Hofstadter believes that an intellectual approach to life accepts the premise that conflict is a constant and there is a need for spirited discussion and an openness to compromise.

He argues that Dewey’s single-minded belief that schools should focus “on the developing interests and hofsfadter of the child” has resulted in a range of distortions and perversions, all of which reinforce the anti-intellectual stance of the education establishment.

Dec 22, Randall Wallace rated it liked it. Throughout his career, he worked at many universities, most recently as the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. The symptoms are frequent and obvious, even unavoidable. The decisive defeat of Stevenson, a complete but likeable intellectual, and the election of Eisenhower, a connoisseur of Westerns, evidenced the change.


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Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

He examines, ponders, wonders, imagines whereas the intelligent man grasps, manipulates and creates order. That in turn derives from another legacy of business’s pre-eminence: Intellctualism we think, in our collective futures, we can buy our way out of academic inferiority.

If this happens the flaws of our education system will likely be magnified beyond belief, and we will all bear the economic repercussions which are already being felt but will only get worse. This was my second go-round on this book amerifan 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.

Jn book points backward to the formation of anti-intellect Recent political development in this country make it seem that gossip, hearsay, “alternative facts,” wishful thinking, invective, and shaming the intellectual class have become coin of the realm at the highest levels of government.

Hofstadter unfolds the fascinating story, it is no crude battle of eggheads and fatheads. Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, intellectualksm sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

He unflinchingly states the consequences for his overall subject: Teacher education program personnel, Hofstadter suggests, are often anti-intellectual, their protestations notwithstanding. View all anit comments. For its aggressive investigation of the Florida Turnpike Authority which disclosed widespread illegal acts and resulted in a major reorganization of the State’s road construction program.

If, according to Hofstadter, anti-intellectualism ebbs and flows in cycles, I cannot feel the ebb. Yet Hofstadter takes pains to argue that Adlai Stevenson was not resoundingly defeated because of his intellect or even wit.

Intellectualism declined sharply in stature after its heyday in the early American Republic.

That is what I want to preserve, or rather Congregational, Presbyterian or Anglican. They began espousing the democratic values that were the basis for their intellectialism disdain putting themselves in an awkward situation.

To the extent that Americans equate salary with status, itself a pitiful legacy of our business culture, I must add the vast majority of the MUS professoriate to the population of severely underpaid schoolteachers.


They create things to love and be friends with. As never before, he is welcomed in industry and in government” []. At the bottom is the idea that our needs are better met by increased consumption than a fully developed mind.

Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Richard Hofstadter – Google Books

At one point, Richard prattles off twenty cool names in American Literature in two sentences so the book looked deeper, but unlike the vast majority of richad of this book, I was not a big fan even though I had high hopes. If the myth of the common man’s wisdom explains the marginalization of intellectuals in most of our federal history, the “mystique of practicality,” which Hofstadter calls “spiritually crippling”explains the traditional polarity between the realm of business and the realm of the intellect.

In his explanations, Hofstadter voices the old, familiar claim of American disinterest in our past–our consistently anti-historical, pro-utilitarian disposition–and traces the secularization of the American mind by way of the “curious cult of intellectuaalism practicality” What had formerly belonged only to the church was removed and exported to the marketplace.

A deeply reported book of remarkable clarity showing how the flawed rationale for the Iraq War led to the explosive growth of the Islamic State. Diving into religion, business, politics, psychology and higher education — among other subjects — Hofstadter shows that anti-intellectualism — very roughly put, the view that knowing how to correctly push the buttons on a dishwasher is more important than knowing how to design or manufacture one, or to explain how one works — is hardwired in American culture and life.

Hofstadter’s Authors Guild membership card, One could argue that the technologies themselves are anti-intellectual. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.