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John Patrick Diggins, 1936-2009

The New York Times reports today that intellectual historian and author John Patrick Diggins passed away Wednesday in Manhattan at the age of 73. Diggins—whose scholarly work encompassed the breadth of American political thought from “the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the present day”—was known for his “provocative, revisionist approach to the history of the American left and right.” The NYT notes that “he nourished a sneaking fondness for the Lyrical Left but declared Ronald Reagan to be ‘one of the two or three truly great presidents in history.'” The NYT article continues: “The tension between liberal ideals, pragmatism and authority ran like a leitmotif through books like The Lost Soul of American Politics: Virtue, Self-Interest and the Foundation of Liberalism, The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority and Eugene O’Neill’s America: Desire Under Democracy“—all of which the University of Chicago Press is honored to have published.