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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 ce 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.


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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 ce 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.

30 review for Insurrections of the Mind: 100 Years of Politics and Culture in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Disclaimer: I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. The copy I read was an uncorrected proof, and changes will be made in the final edition. (Specifically, a second introduction by Leon Wieseltier–an index may also be forthcoming.) The New Republic magazine has its centenary anniversary this year, so a collected volume of some of the many interesting articles that ran in the magazine is an expected celebration. For many years, the New Republic (so Disclaimer: I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. The copy I read was an uncorrected proof, and changes will be made in the final edition. (Specifically, a second introduction by Leon Wieseltier–an index may also be forthcoming.) The New Republic magazine has its centenary anniversary this year, so a collected volume of some of the many interesting articles that ran in the magazine is an expected celebration. For many years, the New Republic (so named because there was already a Republic magazine at the time) has been the home of many of the leading voices of liberal political philosophy. But in addition to politics, it covers art and cultural events as well. After an introduction which explains the history of the magazine, its ups and downs (Stephen Glass is cited as a mistake, and his writing is not represented), the remainder of the book is essays grouped by decade. From “The Duty of Harsh Criticism” by Rebecca West to “The Idea of Ideas” by Leon Wieseltier, this book is jam-packed with thought-provoking work. I especially liked the afore-mentioned Rebecca West piece (I am a reviewer, after all), “Progress and Poverty” by Edmund Wilson, which contrasts the opening of the Empire State Building with a ruined man’s suicide,”Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell, in which you can see some of the ideas that went into 1984, and”Here Comes the Groom: A (Conservative) Case for Gay Marriage” by Andrew Sullivan, which is what it sounds like. Not every writer represented here saw the future clearly–some of them guessed very wrong about the issues and people they wrote about. But all of them are worth at least checking out. “But Scott,” you say, “I am not a liberal. What is there for me in such a book?” I recommend the essays “The Corruption of Liberalism” by Lewis Mumford, “The Liberal’s Dilemma” by Daniel P. Moynihan and “he Great Carter Mystery” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Liberals are not above raking each other over the coals, after all. The book is due on shelves by the end of September 2014. i recommend it to former readers of the New Republic (current readers should already be aware of it), 20th Century history students, the politically-minded, and those who enjoy a good essay.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A lot of good stuff in here. I'm not a New Republic reader, but they've got a deep stable of writing talent and cover a lot of things I find interesting. Not sure that this book is the best conduit into the magazine. I'd much rather have seen two books, one covering the first 75 years of the magazine, the second covering the ensuing quarter century. All in all, a worthwhile read. A lot of good stuff in here. I'm not a New Republic reader, but they've got a deep stable of writing talent and cover a lot of things I find interesting. Not sure that this book is the best conduit into the magazine. I'd much rather have seen two books, one covering the first 75 years of the magazine, the second covering the ensuing quarter century. All in all, a worthwhile read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Weyek

    I read half of it. meh. The New Republic supported the Iraq war? Wow. Arthur Schlesinger thought Carter would be re-elected if the Republicans insisted on Ronald Reagan as their candidate? Clueless. The New Republic sucks.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick F

    This collection of essays, for me personally, was deeply mind-expanding. I have been more and more getting into history to learn about the present. The New Republic is celebrating 100 years of liberal thought; this collection has essays beginning as early as 1914 and ending with an essay by the renowned Leon Weiseltier published in May, 2010. As someone rooted - in many ways - in reading contemporary accounts of current affairs, it is easy to get caught up in the Big Idea of the Moment even if i This collection of essays, for me personally, was deeply mind-expanding. I have been more and more getting into history to learn about the present. The New Republic is celebrating 100 years of liberal thought; this collection has essays beginning as early as 1914 and ending with an essay by the renowned Leon Weiseltier published in May, 2010. As someone rooted - in many ways - in reading contemporary accounts of current affairs, it is easy to get caught up in the Big Idea of the Moment even if it actually is either, 1 - not new but only seems new for lack of being aware of it's history and 2, a good coherent idea. I have been doing a lot of research into identity politics for a recent university essay and I have read some illuminating essays and books in that regard. Many words written in the 1990s predicted the direction of the Left and I find much about reading past words as humbling, corrective, and instructive. I happily dove into a centuries worth of words to help me grasp with the present. These essays are ALL good for a variety of reasons. There are over 50 essays in this anthology. Here are some brief thoughts on my favorite 10. 1. In a Schoolroom by Randolph S. Bourne (Oct, 7, 1914) 2. Meditation in E Minor, by H. L. Mencken (Sep. 8, 1920) 3. The Corruption of Liberalism, by Lewis Mumford (Apr. 29, 1940) 4. Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid, by Virginia Woolf (Oct. 21, 1940) 5. In Every Voice, in Every Ban, by Alfred Kazin (Jan. 10, 1944) 6. Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell (Jun. 17, 1946) 7. The War on Poverty, by Gunnar Myrdal (Feb. 8, 1964) 8. The Great Carter Mystery, by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (Apr. 12, 1980) 9. The Value of the Canon, by Irving Howe (Feb. 18, 1991) 10. The Limited Circle is Pure, by Zadie Smith (Nov. 3, 2003) All of these essays have one thing in common: Fantastic writing that hooks you in from the first word. Ex: Zadie's Smith essay on Franz Kafka was one of the longest in the entire collection yet it read smoothly, and engaged you in a way that time seemed to float away. I need to go read her novels now. H. L. Mencken was no friend of liberal thought but by god could this dude write. In fact, I agreed with his biting, elitist polemical style so much that it scared me. It's no wonder why I like Slavoj Zizek so much. Virginia Woolf's essay was by far my favorite and I doubt I ever forget it. Howe added fuel to my fire that I've recently lit regarding my views on trigger warnings and the Left, in general. Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal's take on poverty and race in America was chilling and prophetic. He argued that we need more government spending; he also warns about racializing welfare programs. He points out that our obsession with balanced budgets has no footing in the economic literature. We are still, to this day - 50 years after this essay - fighting pseudo-problems which is causing our real problems of the day to be ignored. This collection featured a few different essays attacking elite opinion regarding economics that had no root in actual economics. This essay also contained many essays regarding liberalism, in general. This collection was self-aware about it's rightward turn, and it's bullish support of the Iraq War. This magazine was also transparent about it now siding with the ant-war left of the 1950s/1960s. I attribute this to it being one that is submerged with insiders and those who want to be insiders. I contribute that to the scare tactics of the CIA and the specter of the Soviet Union. We now know so much more about the intelligence failures of the CIA. This collection challenges socialists, and liberals, and the Left, more so than the right. I applaud that approach because it's aims are to unite, rather than to divide. Also in a time where the Right is united, in more ways than divided, liberals or the Left need to unite and this can only be done first by examining history, and examining bad ideas or ideologically rigid ideas. My politics are to the left of The New Republic's painful liberal-centrism. However, I learned a lot from this collection. I learned a lot about totalitarian thinking, group-think, and about human behavior and psychology. TNR seems to be an honest publication who actively engages with liberal thoughts who truly believes in challenging ideas and fighting for a liberal future. They publish a variety of voices from a variety of schools of thought. For fans of essay collections and liberalism thought, I highly recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Insurrections of the Mind is an excellent anthology of diverse essays published in The New Republic over the last 100 years. The unifying theme is The New Republic's ongoing effort to open new avenues for advancing liberalism American-style. As we all know, liberalism became the "L-Word" somewhere during the Reagan/Bush years, but The New Republic's version of liberalism lives on and can be succinctly defined as an attempt to insure big government helps little people while protecting everyone's Insurrections of the Mind is an excellent anthology of diverse essays published in The New Republic over the last 100 years. The unifying theme is The New Republic's ongoing effort to open new avenues for advancing liberalism American-style. As we all know, liberalism became the "L-Word" somewhere during the Reagan/Bush years, but The New Republic's version of liberalism lives on and can be succinctly defined as an attempt to insure big government helps little people while protecting everyone's civil liberties. Mix in a little idealism in foreign policy, and you have the general formula in hand. The New Republic has always insisted, however, that public life involves more than politics, so there are many essays that focus on literature and the arts in this anthology. Reviewing anthologies presents a problem: do you try to be comprehensive or do you focus on the high and low spots? I try to be brief in general terms -- about 75% of the essays here are excellent to outstanding---and call attention to such a volume's strengths and weaknesses. The best essays from my perspective include Zadie Smith on Kafka, Jed Perl on Gerhard Richter, Otis Ferguson on Bix Beiderbecke,Hendrick Hertzberg on Ronald Reagan, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan on, you guessed it, Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Smith captures what V.S. Naipul might call the "nullity" of Kafka and explains his difficulty with the novel form. Perl tears Richter to pieces as a paint-slapping phony while lambasting the Museum of Modern Art for featuring him so prominently. Ferguson catches the genius and misery of Beiderbecke. Hertzberg slashes into Reagan of his shallowness, self-centeredness, and general ability to mystify his staff, which constantly tried to advance ideas better than his, but not always with success. Moynihan takes stock of liberalism's failures to deliver on its promises and suggests ways in which it, and he, can push for better results, not just more results and more dollars spent. There are some turgid pieces here by Hans Morgenthau on the failures of democracy, J.M. Keynes on Soviet Russia, and I'm afraid, Vladimir Nabokov on translation. This is to be expected, and my taste may differ from yours in these cases just as it differs from the editor's, Franklin Foer. A theme throughout The New Republic's 100 years is the impending demise of liberalism and how to save it. The answer seems to be coming after the book's publication in the form of things like Obamacare and assertive executive action on immigration, Cuba, and climate change. (Before the book's publication, big government plus the Federal Reserve pulled the U.S. out of a frightening economic nosedive, but I don't find that well-covered here.) In many ways, this volume sets the table nicely for the 2016 election. America will face a choice between rigid conservatism and fuzzy liberalism. What's needed is a fresh look at what these political perspectives can actually achieve in a country where the middle class has lost so much ground and the relatively simple calculations of the Cold War have yielded to much more complex challenges abroad. The kind of thought that went into producing most of these essays is exactly what's called for over the next two years.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Ritchie

    Some of it was exceptional, some of it was a little m'eh... Some of it was exceptional, some of it was a little m'eh...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    This was my introduction and farewell to The New Republic. A hawkish, self-effacing liberal rag with no real mission statement. A book full of pro democracy-spreading polemics whose boorishness I would have excused had they not been so devoid of any progressive might. Except for the essays from Virginia Woolf and George Orwell, who of course were not regular contributors, this one was a real snoozer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jake Berlin

    some outstanding writing on a wide range of topics. surprisingly (or perhaps not), many of my favorite pieces were by less well known authors, rather than the literary greats featured here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    As with any collection of essays there are a few duds, but by and large this was an enjoyable read. Definietly a good rundown of Liberal thought in America from the turn of the century forward.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tarita Henry

    Well written, but I found it pretty boring.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alaric Pratt

    Its good te read bits and pieces at a time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm Pellettier

    Reading the old fogeys was illuminating and refreshing: Lippmann, Croley, Mencken, even Rebecca West had some lovely things to say about H.G. I'd even take Kinsley back. Reading the old fogeys was illuminating and refreshing: Lippmann, Croley, Mencken, even Rebecca West had some lovely things to say about H.G. I'd even take Kinsley back.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Buddhishilyahoo.Com

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hanson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pouyan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Jin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ishcredible

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jake DeBacher

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emlong

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam Hill

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yousif Akbar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gavan Driscoll

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  28. 5 out of 5

    rowan

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Cadigan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

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