"A FORMIDABLE AND APPARENTLY PERMANENT FORCE IN AMERICAN POLITICS": FIRST EDITION OF RICHARD HOFSTADTER'S HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL WORK, THE PARANOID STYLE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND OTHER ESSAYS, 1965
HOFSTADTER, Richard. The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Octavo, original navy cloth, original dust jacket. $1000.
First edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian's pivotal volume of seven essays, including the title work that expresses his alarm at "the arena of uncommonly angry minds" that dominates the nation's politics, manufacturing a "vast and sinister conspiracy… as the motive force in historical events… Time is forever just running out."
To John Higham, Hofstadter was "the finest and also the most humane historical intelligence of our generation" (ANB). On publication, C. Vann Woodward called this volume of seven essays "the most balanced and authoritative analysis we have of a formidable and apparently permanent force in American politics" (New York Times). Sean Wilentz, who edited the 2020 Library of America edition of Hofstadter's writings, notes the title essay, Paranoid Style in American Politics, "was a response, first, to McCarthyism and, second, to the intellectual dreariness of official politics and conformist culture during the Eisenhower–Nixon years… With Paranoid Style and many of the essays, especially the ones on Goldwater, Hofstadter… is truly alarmed by what he calls 'the arena of uncommonly angry minds' that had once again come to dominate American politics" (Library of America). Hofstadter describes the "paranoid spokesman" as a figure who sees "a vast and sinister conspiracy… as the motive force in historical events… he sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms… [and] constantly lives at a turning point: it is now or never in organizing resistance to conspiracy. Time is forever just running out" (emphasis in original). Hofstadter died five years after this work was published. First edition, first printing: copyright page with "First Edition," no statement of printings. An abridged version of the title essay appeared in Harper's in November 1964.
Book pristine; lightest edge-wear mainly to faintly toned dust jacket spine. A handsome about-fine copy.