Adam's Reviews > Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
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's review
Jun 22, 2009

it was amazing

This was a really interesting history book, dealing with just one aspect of America, anti-intellectualism. Hey, the Puritan clergy were apparently sort of smart guys (even if their theology was shitty)! Adlai Stevenson didn't lose his race against Eisenhower just because he was an egghead! (Eisenhower was a national hero, there was a huge turnout at the voting booths, and even though he lost Stevenson still got more votes than the previous election's winner). It gets a bit dense at times, I had to take a few breaks, and the ending ends up a bit weak in retrospect. The book came out in 1963, and the ending was surely healthily optimistic at the time, but it's a bit annoying in 2009 to have a book like this end with "The president's inviting poets to the whitehouse! Intellectuals are popular again!" I'm kind of overstating that aspect a bit. Oh, also even though he's extremely even-handed throughout the book, even saying that fundementalists deserve a lot of sympathy, he does find some bile for the beats at the end. (He thinks they're terrible writers!) So that's kind of fun. He's got some other American history books out, I'll probably get around to them one of these days.

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message 1: by Annie (new)

Annie the puritans encouraged heavily imbibing on spirits or beer before a long night of bible reading.

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