Cover image for Insurrections of the mind : 100 years of politics and culture in America
Title:
Insurrections of the mind : 100 years of politics and culture in America
Author:
Foer, Franklin, editor.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Perennial, [2014]
Physical Description:
xxvii, 568 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
Founded by Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann in 1914 to give voice to the growing progressive movement, The New Republic has charted--and shaped--the state of American liberalism, publishing many of the twentieth century's most important thinkers. Insurrections of the Mind is an intellectual biography of this great American political tradition. In more than fifty essays, organized chronologically by decade, a stunning collection of writers explores the pivotal issues of modern America.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780062340399
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of The New Republic, an extraordinary anthology of essays culled from the archives of the acclaimed and influential magazine.

Founded by Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann in 1914 to give voice to the growing progressive movement, The New Republic has charted and shaped the state of American liberalism, publishing many of the twentieth century's most important thinkers.

Insurrections of the Mind is an intellectual biography of this great American political tradition. In seventy essays, organized chronologically by decade, a stunning collection of writers explore the pivotal issues of modern America. Weighing in on the New Deal; America's role in war; the rise and fall of communism; religion, race, and civil rights; the economy, terrorism, technology; and the women's movement and gay rights, the essays in this outstanding volume speak to The New Republic's breathtaking ambition and reach. Introducing each article, editor Franklin Foer provides colorful biographical sketches and amusing anecdotes from the magazine's history. Bold and brilliant, Insurrections of the Mind is a celebration of a cultural, political, and intellectual institution that has stood the test of time.

Contributors include: Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Philip Roth, Pauline Kael, Michael Lewis, Zadie Smith, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, James Wolcott, D. H. Lawrence, John Maynard Keynes, Langston Hughes, John Updike, and Margaret Talbot.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* It has been 100 years since the 1914 founding of the New Republic, the magazine launched by Walter Lippmann and Herbert Croly, protégés of the post-presidential (Bull Moose) progressive Theodore Roosevelt. This sparkling anthology, drawn from the magazine's archives, can be read as a history of American liberalism or as a record of liberalism's take on the times (and on liberalism itself). Either way, it is scintillating reading. After the introduction by the magazine's current editor, Franklin Foer, and what Foer calls its manifesto, taken from the first issue, The Duty of Harsh Criticism, by Rebecca West, the compendium includes the work of political thinkers, not only Croly and Lippmann but also H. L. Mencken, John Dewey, and Bruce Bliven on Sacco and Vanzetti; of critics Lewis Mumford, Edmund Wilson, and Alfred Kazin; of literary figures Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, and W. H. Auden; of historians James McGregor Burns (on John Kennedy) and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (on Jimmy Carter); and of cinema critics Stanley Kauffmann and Pauline Kael. It also includes, from more recent issues, Zadie Smith on Kafka, and former editor Leon Wieseltier in one of the best pieces on the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, and much more. This is a rich volume full of penetrating insights into this country and for better or worse its liberal tradition.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

New Republic editor Foer's sampling of essays published in the magazine over the course of its history spans major American wars, disastrous presidential administrations, and seismic political shifts, but adds up to far more than just a retrospective slideshow of the "American century." Taken as a whole, the book's selections, organized by decade, represent the magazine's mission to serve as a mouthpiece and conscience for liberalism. Writers from Rebecca West, to Virginia Woolf, to Leon Wieseltier explore a political philosophy which founding editor Herbert Croly termed "the attempt to mould social life in the light of the best available knowledge and in the interest of a humane ideal." Foer provides brief intros that set the context for each piece, and also sometimes acknowledges the magazine's failings, such as the support it offered Stalin in the 1930s. The rigorous analysis and thoughtful philosophizing otherwise displayed by the politically-minded essays extends to cultural criticism that includes Nabokov on translation, Margaret Talbot on Martha Stewart, and Zadie Smith on Kafka. Taken individually, the essays are often prescient (Andrew Sullivan's 1989 gay marriage piece "Here Comes the Groom") or witty (Philip Roth's "Positive Thinking on Pennsylvania Ave"). Considered as a whole, they sculpt a model of journalistic sophistication that honors George Orwell's dictum, in "Politics and the English Language," that "to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration." Agent: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary Associates. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.