Review, David S. Brown, Richard Hofstadter
Publishers Weekly recently reviewed David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. From the review: "Richard Hofstadter wrote several of the 20th century’s most popular and important works of American history, but, as historian Brown reminds readers in this nuanced study, those works were as much a critique of the political culture of his own day as they were an analysis of the past. [Brown offers] brief, pointed readings of the Columbia-based thinker’s books and analyses of his era’s conflicts…. As he makes a strong case for the relevance of Hofstadter’s influential understanding of political conflict to contemporary society, Brown is attentive to his flaws, as well: most notably, his personal devotion to postwar, meritocratic liberalism often led him to apply and selectively develop his historical arguments. Although the Hofstadter estate’s prohibition against quotation from his letters weakens the presentation of his inner life, Brown’s thorough research has yielded plenty of well-chosen snippets from the words of Hofstadter’s family, colleagues and students to flesh out this valuable intellectual portrait."
Read an excerpt.