Founded by the offspring of immigrants, Commentary began life as a voice for the marginalized and a feisty advocate for civil rights and economic justice. But just as American culture moved in its direction, it began—inexplicably to some—to veer right, becoming the voice of neoconservativism and defender of the powerful.
This lively history, based on unprecedented access to the magazine's archives and dozens of original interviews, provocatively explains that shift while recreating the atmosphere of some of the most exciting decades in American intellectual life.
Arguing the World is a portrait of four of the leading members of the group in their own words, based on the extensive interviews that formed the basis for Joseph Dorman's acclaimed film of the same name, which New York magazine named in 1999 as the Best New York Documentary. The political essayist Irving Kristol, the literary critic Irving Howe, and the sociologists Daniel Bell and Nathan Glazer are brought into sharp focus in a vivid account of one of the century's great intellectual communities.
In this wide-ranging oral history, Dorman documents the lifelong political arguments of these men, from their working-class beginnings to their rise to prominence in the years following World War II, particularly through their contributions to magazines and journals like Partisan Review and Com-mentary. From the advent of the Cold War and McCarthyism, to the rise of the New Left on college campuses in the sixties, to the emergence of neoconservatism in the seventies and eighties, the group's disagreements grew more heated and at times more personal. Driven apart by their responses to these historic events, in later life the four found themselves increasingly at odds with one another. Kristol became influential in America's resurgent conservative movement and Glazer made a name for himself as a forceful critic of liberal social policy, while Bell fought to defend a besieged liberalism. Until his death in 1993, Irving Howe remained an unapologetic voice of the radical left.
Weaving personal reminiscences from these towering figures with those of their friends and foes, Arguing the World opens a new window on the social and intellectual history of twentieth-century America.
?Based on interviews with many of the leading figures and 10 years of extensive research
?Takes us behind the scenes at Commentary, Partisan Review, The Public Interest and other influential publications
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Podhoretz was the trailblazer of the now-famous journey of a number of his fellow intellectuals from radicalism to conservatism -- a journey through which they came to exercise both cultural and political influence far beyond their number. With this fascinating account of his once happy and finally troubled relations with these cultural icons, Podhoretz helps us understand why that journey was undertaken and just how consequential it became. In the process we get a brilliantly illuminating picture of the writers and intellectuals who have done so much to shape our world.
Combining a personal memoir with literary, social, and political history, this unique gallery of stern and affectionate portraits is as entertaining as a novel and at the same time more instructive about postwar American culture than a formal scholarly study. Interwoven with these tales of some of the most quixotic and scintillating of contemporary American thinkers are themes that are introduced, developed, and redeveloped in a variety of contexts, with each appearance enriching the others, like a fugue in music. It is all here: the perversity of brilliance; the misuse of the mind; the benightedness of people usually considered especially enlightened; their human foibles and olympian detachment; the rigors to be endured and the prizes to be won and the prices to be paid for the reflective life.
Most people live their lives in a very different way, and at one point, in a defiantly provocative defense of the indifference shown to the things by which intellectuals are obsessed, Norman Podhoretz says that Socrates' assertion that the unexamined life was not worth living was one of the biggest lies ever propagated by a philosopher. And yet, one comes away from Ex-Friends feeling wistful for a day when ideas really mattered and when there were people around who cared more deeply about them than about anything else. Reading of a time when the finest minds of a generation regularly gathered in New York living rooms to debate one another with an articulateness, a passion, and a level of erudition almost extinct, we come to realize how enviable it can be to live a life as poignantly and purposefully examined as Norman Podhoretz's is in Ex-Friends.
Apart from propaganda value, Germany discovered in Zionism an instrument for solving the Jewish problem in Eastern Europe after the war and a means for strengthening its own influence in the Middle East. Moreover, by maintaining good relations with German officials and the press, the German Zionists inadvertently created an atmosphere of competition among the European Powers, and thus indirectly accelerated the publication of Balfour's Declaration.
Friedman's revealing study is a comprehensive and definitive work on a little known aspect of German-Turkish-Zionist relations, and complements his previous book, "The Question of Palestine, "also published by Transaction. The book was hailed upon publication as "a careful and intelligent use of the many available sources" by the "Times Literary Supplement; ""a persuasive, nourishing and durable study, eminently readable" by "Middle East Journal; "and "a fascinating story in which the heroes are German Zionists who managed to win the protection of the German government" in "Choice."
To describe what it meant to be a Jew in India, Roland draws on a wealth of materials such as Indian Jewish periodicals, official and private archives, and extensive interviews. Historians, Judaic studies specialist, India area scholars, postcolonialist, and sociologists will all find this book to be an engaging study. A new final chapter discusses the position of the remaining Jews in India as well as the status of Indian Jews in Israel at the end of the twentieth century.
Today, relations between blacks and Jews may be at an all-time low. Hardy a month goes by without fresh outbreaks of hostility and conflict. Controversial figures like Louis Farrakhan, Khalid Mohammed, and Leonard Jeffries fuel Jewish fears about a rising tide of black anti-Semitism—fears that were horribly confirmed for many Jews by the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights in the summer of 1991—and blacks respond with bitter charges of Jewish hypocrisy and racism.
What went wrong between blacks and Jews? Historian Murray Friedman, also a long-time civil rights activist, takes this question as the starting point for the first authoritative history of black-Jewish relations in America. Friedman’s book traces this long and complex relationship from colonial times to the present, engaging the revisionists at every point. He argues that the future of this important American partnership lies in the outcome of the struggle currently under way between black radical nationalists and blacks seeking coalition with Jews and other whites. “Memory,” Friedman concludes, “is the only force that can bring about a reconciliation.”