Cover image for The distortion of America
The distortion of America
Handlin, Oscar, 1915-2011.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1981]

Physical Description:
xi, 154 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"An Atlantic Monthly Press book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E744 .H348 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Expanded edition of historian Handlin's 1961 critique of anti- Americanism as an ideological expression of Marxism-Leninism in academia. Handlin's smugness (e.g. "...innate reticence kept me quiet unless I knew about what I spoke.") and his fundamental project of abusing history to settle intellectual and political scores undermines whatever explanatory power his analysis might otherwise have had. Six additional chapters supplement those gathered in the earlier collection. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Author Notes

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Oscar Handlin received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he has taught since 1939 and was director of the Center for the Study of the History of Liberty until 1966. From 1979 to 1984, he was director of the university library at Harvard, and, after holding the Charles Warren chair in history for many years, in 1984 he became Charles M. Loeb University Professor.

Handlin, who is a consensus historian and a strong advocate of civil rights, has written extensively on urban history and immigration. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952 for The Uprooted (1951), his study of immigrants in the eastern cities of America written from the perspective of the immigrant.

The son of immigrant parents himself, he made his special field of study the social history of immigrant groups who came to the United States in the nineteenth century from eastern and southern Europe. In The Americans (1963), as in others of his books, he dispensed with footnotes, bibliography, and identification of quotations in favor of "unobtrusive" learning. Handlin edited Children of the Uprooted (1966), which includes excerpts from various authors on the subject of the "marginality" of immigrants, and collaborated on a number of works with his first wife, Mary, and his second wife, Lillian. On the subject of education, he wrote The American University as an Instrument of Republican Culture (1970) and John Dewey's Challenge to Education: Historical Perspectives on the Cultural Context (1959).

(Bowker Author Biography)