The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays

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9780226348179: The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays
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"The distinguishing thing about the paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or plots here and there in history, but that they regard a vast' or gigantic' conspiracy as the "motive force" in historical events...The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms--he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization." --From the book

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About the Author:

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) was De Witt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University.

Review:

Recent months have witnessed an attack of unprecedented passion and ferocity against the national government. The Republican Party has apparently embarked on a crusade to destroy national standards, national projects, and national regulations and to transfer domestic governing authority from the national government to the states...Unbridled rhetoric is having consequences far beyond anything that antigovernment politicians intend. The flow of angry words seems to have activated and, in a sense, legitimized what the historian Richard Hofstadter called the `paranoid strain' in American politics. (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Wall Street Journal 1995-06-07)

The crank and his following have attracted a gifted historian in Richard Hofstadter...His account stands as the most balanced and authoritative analysis we have of a formidable and apparently permanent force in American politic. (C. Vann Woodward New York Times Book Review)

Here are a series of episodes in the American imagination--from anti-Masonry and Populism to McCarthyism and the Birch Society--each of them informed with a distinctive intelligence...Hofstadter's status theory helps us understand a political history that goes far beyond the issues of the fifties and sixties which it was invoked to explain. (New Republic)

Professor Hofstadter...casts an incandescent light on the tactics of the Far Right which we crucially need to understand and to counter if we are to debate and formulate foreign policy equal to the needs of the times...Professor Hofstadter's essays...are calm, clear, dispassionate and devastating--a joy to read. (Harper's)

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