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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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An animal can be intelligent, but intellect is human.

Review: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life ()

What a prescient book. Ayn Rand has no doubts. In the end it must be the farmer and the industrialist Perhaps nothing symbolized this more than the appointment of Hofstadter’s colleague, the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. I think Hofstadter’s book holds up well, because it shows how attitudes towards academic learning and expertise have evolved over American history.

Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia

Intellectuals, argues Hofstadter, are not hofsyadter or necessarily highly educated, nor are they merely or necessarily experts.

The self-made man, a phrase first used by Henry Clay inwas a popular 19th century concept.

Retrieved from ” https: Jun 01, Bryan rated it really liked it. The intelligent person has clear goals that can easily be appreciated by anyone. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now.

No longer confined to the university lecture hall or the bohemian fringe, academicians were now enmeshed in the workings of big business, military research, and government policy. I feel only marginally better studying Hofstadter’s history of the big gap between our deep-rooted valuation of a common school system and the chronic calls for educational reform.


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.

It is aligned with creativity; even the most serious poetry must have a strong element intellctualism this, as must wit, and quite probably most high-quality writing.

He also traces the potent myth of the wisdom of the common man from Colonial days, which myth explains those three categories as much as anything. Fundamentalism feeds xenophobia and denies globalism. I think Hofstadter’s book holds up well, …more I actually think more recent books may be less relevant, because they are tied up in the issues of our time.

One recalls the gospel according to Calvin Coolidge: Theirs was a social structure hofstaadter its corner stone resting on a book …. I prefer to go along with it now. They are insiders who sometimes revel in torpedoing the knowledge establishment and colleagues from the inside.

View all 4 comments. Dec 01, Gary rated it it was ok.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Maybe we face a new dark age? Primitivism, the favoring of intuition and faith over cultivated rationality, was seen as natural, intellectualism as artificial. Left free, there is nothing intellectuallsm will not reconsider, analyze, throw into question. But my impression has been that “exceptional”–those kids who measure well apart from whatever constitutes a normal range–means, more often, the deficient rather than the super-intelligent.


More often than not, Hofstadter’s jofstadter of anti-intellectualism retains its currency and relevance after forty-five years. One of the most acutest points in the book for me was the difference between intellectuapism and intellect.

It is penetratingly insightful at times, and while it does not afford much hope that the trends will stop, it does help put them into perspective.

It is a rich, complex, shifting picture of the life of the mind in a society dominated by the ideal of practical success. But with Jackson, such criteria were anathema. Conservative critics, such as Irwin G. We define our virtual landscape according to text messaging, blogs what a word! Anything goes, anybody can post a website, it’s easy, let’s pass our days “surfing”: Again, I wonder how he would define the triumph of mass media and athletics as big business, a thriving marriage, were he writing today?

With the freedom in the early United States came the financial triumph of uneducated businessmen; they became rich, and that made them powerful. Today, the discrediting of intellectuals by so many in America is ever more strident.