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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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According to Hofstadter, his topic is itellectualism ‘resentment of the life of the mind, and those who are considered to represent it; and a disposition to constantly minimize the value of that life. On the contrary, the opposite argument, that intellectuals would seem more equipped than most to safely wield power, could be made.

Only in the free personal relation is full identity to be found.

Now, with this great institution to take over, someone can and will make a power grab to control the country. To our ears, a number of Hofstadter’s statements now sound remarkably naive. In many sections of these chapters, the eyes of the non-specialist might glaze over, or at least begin skimming, yet the cumulative evidence concerning those patterns convinces the reader.

And it does so largely without judgement, even though the overall thrust of the book is an argument that the disapproval of education and knowledge for their own sake tend to undermine our social structures and retard our advancement as a nation. Divorced people turn out to have more intellectual interests than happily married people.


If, according to Hofstadter, anti-intellectualism ebbs and flows in cycles, I cannot feel the ebb. Hofstadter’s detailed analysis of Dewey’s work solidifies the indictment. Richard words this more eloquently when he says that and this is the key theme in the book: Aug 26, Mehrsa rated it it was amazing. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Not much has changed. Intellectuals doubt their own reason and anti-intellectuals have no doubts in their own certainty.

The creative drive of the true intellectual is loneliness. This, to me, makes me question the work as a text in Hofstadter’s main problem, as far as I can tell, live that he doesn’t have a working definition for intellectual.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Goes a long way to explain the history of intellectual life in America, examining religion, formal education, business, and politics. He had never regarded the average citizen with disdain; indeed, as this exhibition demonstrateshe was quite willing to intervene in public debate and to engage a broad audience. Through the 19th and into the 20th century schools became increasingly seen as a way to learn skills necessary to make a livelihood and participate in democracy, while support for more academic education continued to erode.

In the process, he distinguishes it from intelligence and professionalism. Here the evidence suggests that anti-intellectualism has risen steadily since Hofstadter’s time. The exultation of the common man “vote for the guy you’d like to have a beer with” got considerably worse with the Jackson presidency, and byduring William Henry Harrison’s “Log Cabin and Hard Cider” campaign, it officially became the keystone of a party’s election strategy.

So began a war that lasted a hundred years to control the vulgar rich, to control the power that was accumulating in the hands of the industrialists, and transfer it to the intellectual elite. That’s how I see it.


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

And the parents have a right to say that no teacher paid by their money shall rob their children of faith in [their] God and send them back to their homes, skeptical, infidels, or agnostics, or atheists Cooks can be just as valuable as school teachers and we might as well let the market determine fair value. Jonathan Mayhew and the Principles of the American Revolution.

This section also examines some preachers’ lives in quite some detail to explain their approach, their appeal, and their personalities, in an interesting history that I knew almost nothing about. Sep 27, Max rated it it was amazing Shelves: In the past couple of decades, chronic, strident criticism of the higher education enterprise–a home of intellectuals–has reached a new decibel level.

Apr 29, Andrew added it Shelves: To see what your friends thought bh this book, please sign up. Hofstadter approaches the s, the reign of McCarthyism above all, from a number of vantages throughout his study. Success depended on skilled recruiting and religion that was readily accessible.

The work was written during the Kennedy Education became accepted as necessary for business, but traditional intellectual pursuits were still considered irrelevant.