Biography, History, Reviews

Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

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Adding to the large amount of attention this book has received recently, September’s Washington Monthly features a two page review of David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. According to the reviewer, Jacob Heilbrunn, “Brown has written an account worthy of Hofstadter himself: wry, humane, and illuminating”—a very gracious compliment considering Hofstadter’s extensive corpus of works, many of which, due to their sharp insights and engaging style, are considered classics in their field. Here’s an excerpt from the review:

A biography of a historian seems fated, more often than not, to be a rather boring affair. Unless the historian has played a leading role in great events, it’s hard to imagine what even the most diligent biographer can uncover. That his subject read a lot of books, took copious notes, visited libraries and archives, and sat behind a desk, or, these days, computer screen, for a good part of the day?
Somehow David S. Brown has surmounted these obstacles to produce a biography of Richard Hofstadter, the historian and author (The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life), that is not only a revelation, but also a fascinating read.

Read an excerpt from the book.