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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America was populated iin religious dissidents who rejected the oppressiveness and decadence of European society. Its concern is not merely to portray the scorners of intellect in American life, but to say something about what the intellectual is, and can be, as a force in a democratic society Because the book was written almost 50 years ago, it delves deeper into the subject matter then most contemporary work.

Dec 22, Randall Wallace rated it liked it. There is a real creepiness to those who deny science or think like John Birchers or KKK or support Joseph McCarthy all of who were mentioned in this book for the creeps they were.

There americqn constant activity going on in one small portion of the brain; all the rest is stagnant. Of course, like Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt before him, Kennedy as war hero enabled the intellectual advisors. They helped establish many of the original higher level education institutions.

The intellectual rjchard was disgusted by this, that such vulgar, uncultured people should be becoming the new upper class and the heroes of the young. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now.

Parents saw the world demanding more complex skills. An animal can be intelligent, but intellect is human. Nov 09, Jonathan rated it it was amazing. 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 religious practicality” Overall the book is a fascinating look at how these waves of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism have affected the nation.


That’s how I see it. The overarching point of the book seems to be that since its inception, America has undergone cycles of anti-intellectual sentiment. Stevenson wasn’t a real leader or man because he had served in the World Wars only as a civilian. In the succession of scapegoats chosen by the followers of this tradition of Know-Nothings, the intelligentsia have at last in our time found a place.

Progressive politics in changed the intellectual. Education became accepted as necessary for business, but traditional intellectual pursuits were still considered irrelevant.

He argues that, by the mid-twentieth century, anti-intellectualism was pervasive but not dominant in American culture, claiming that “the greater part of the public It examines in depth the influence of John Dewey on the educational system, and the conflicting drives of traditional education to learn the classical subjects as opposed to the modernising desire of the “New Education” whose goal was to prepare students to become good citizens in a democracy.

Apparently the fear derived from some supposed “lack of balance,” a smokescreen and irrelevancy. But it is these exceptional minds that offer us unique perspectives.

Jonathan Mayhew and the Principles of the American Revolution. Hofstadter flew to Montgomery, at the end of the march, to support those who had walked the entire way from Selma.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

It had forged on the one side a wild of ideals and abstractions uncommitted to any reality and on the other ricnard world of possession the soulless accumulation of dollars; caught between them was a thinking class that passed at a frightening pace from youth to middle age and the to slow relentless decay. And people who believe that faith and spirit are all you need to understand God’s will, and in fact, that any study intended to instruct one in historical context intlelectualism actually detract from faith and spirit.

A liking for philosophy, psychology, and radical politics and for reading the new republic are much less auspicious for marital bliss than a liking for YMCA work, bible study and the American magazine. I suspect it also relates to the sort of rule-breaking desire to make connections between disparate things, that is at the heart of analogy or allegory.


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 wrote a better paper because they are smarter, harder working, or just temperamentally more suited to the discipline is now anathema. At the bottom is the idea that our needs are better met by increased consumption than a fully developed mind.

Lige objection to big business was more to help small business than the working man. If, according to Hofstadter, anti-intellectualism ebbs and flows in cycles, I cannot feel the ebb. Even as they drafted solutions to the Great Depression, opposition simmered and gathered force, erupting, in this scenario, in the presidential election.

A large part of the book is taken up with the philosophy of John Dewey and the focus and purpose of American education, particularly secondary education.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter

The term, attached to Adlai Stevenson and the two presidential campaigns, was seized upon and diffused by a range of anti-intellectual forces. First published inand still richadd in Email alerts New issue alert. All that might fall under the rubrik of “anti-intellectual,” but that’s putting forward an awfully narrow and conservative idea of what “intellectual” is.

The creative drive of the true intellectual is loneliness.

Books im Richard Hofstadter. Roy I actually think more recent books may be less relevant, because they are tied up in the issues of our time. But he does plot some of the baleful consequences of an exclusive commitment to egalitarianism as manifested in public schools, for example. Intellectualism declined sharply in stature after its heyday in the early American Republic.