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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Return to Book Page. There was so much here–commentary, history, and well written analysis of current events. In hogstadter book, Hofstadter set out to trace the social movements that altered the role of intellect in American society. Certainly Anti-Intellectualism earned Hofstadter high praise, and remains one of the definitive words on the subject. 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.

He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize: The money making faculty is alone cultivated. USA students usually rank below the top ten, and sometimes far below. He had never regarded the average citizen with disdain; indeed, as this exhibition demonstrateshe was quite willing to intervene in hkfstadter debate and to lire a broad audience.

Wylie and Robert C. A little dry in places. This book is not nearly inhellectualism snotty as the title makes it sound. His perception that Americans were being dragged to the ‘lowest common denominator criterion’ of thought and ‘technician conformity’ of lifestyle would seem to have arrived with the current political impasse and cultural Know-Nothingism.

Plenty of credible intellectuals were for the educational ideas and some of the other demo-populist social trends he covers, whereas you can’t find many if any who were for the loonier stuff. My only criticism of the book is that in that Hofstaadter wrote it insome of, what for him, contemporary examples of intellectualism now seem dated. Entertainment as defined by the former has swept away a far older, contrary notion of reading as entertainment intellectuqlism.


That tendency in itself represents a curious semantic shift, one with tragic consequences for the academically talented or “exceptional,” as we used to say.

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Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia

Hofstadter distinguishes between being intellectual and just being intelligent. Forty-five years have passed since its publication, and its subject, if not its treatment, certainly merits re-visiting. That’s why a proper approach to education and instilling critical thinking and curiosity via the education system but also via family and community is so important imo, it takes resources and a lot of trial and error, but we are going down the wrong path that is for sure.

Feb 12, Pages.

With current policies we might end up reversing the brain-drain which we have relied upon for so long, it has masked the flaws in our education system and its classist fundamentals. Explaining the gap between our credo and our results lies beyond my ability and this essay, but Hofstadter suggests a range of contributing factors.

Lkfe 10, Roslyn rated it it was amazing. Hofstadter doesn’t stop there, but goes on to show how this bias against the intellectual is a strain going through every aspect of American life, including agriculture, business, labor organization and even education itself.

I have no idea. Every great institution is perforce a means of corruption–whatever good it may also do.

Want to Read saving…. Hofstadter argues that, since the s, fundamentalism has become a fixture of the extreme political right, and from there, infused itself in the American worldview For over pages, Richard slogs through examples of the same unsurprising story — intellectuals and their haters were ebbing and flowing in power but coexisting throughout our history — who knew? For example, he asserts that by the s, high schools had become “quasi-custodial institutions,” and the pupil was regarded “not as a mind to be developed but as a citizen to be trained.

I am tired of talking He sees himself enmeshed in the bureaucratic regulations of a welfare state that is certainly no creation of HIS; he feels he is checkmated by powerful unions and regarded suspiciously by a public constantly piqued by intellectuals. Of course, a good part of the history that Hofstadter treats here comes well before the cold war and the American witch hunts, but it does seem that since this book was published, an anti-intellectual strain that conflates fanciness of all kinds with specifically economic power has caused great damage to the quality of American life and the character of American struggles for equity, and that a knee-jerk fear of anything even vaguely socialist is preventing the disentangling of those two ideas.


And while I want economic success just as much as the next person, our fundamental purpose in life must strive to be something greater than simple economic fulfilment. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Paradoxically, Hofstadter argued, that coveted status was the very source of the intellectuals’ vulnerability: This is just a reality we must deal with. In these schools the scholars will soon come to believe intellectuqlism they are the only persons qualified to administer the Government The fear and loathing for the intellectual in America dates back to before the founding of the republic.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Indeed, by the time Hofstadter turns to his education chapters, he remarks, near the beginning, “At times the schools of the country seem to be dominated by athletics, commercialism, and the standards of the mass media, and these extend upwards to a system of higher education. Or how might he characterize our supposedly post-print culture suggested by the plummeting rates of reading highlighted by the survey mentioned in my beginning? Conversely, does distance from “the people” necessarily imply a haughty – and anti -democratic – refusal to participate in the civic life of the community and the nation?