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A Companion to American Thought

ISBN: 978-0-631-20656-9
824 pages
June 1998, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to American Thought (0631206566) cover image
This outstanding book assesses the whole sweep of American thought from the colonial era to the present day. Some two hundred and fifty scholars - from history, literature, religion, philosophy, political theory, and the social sciences - have written original and substantial essays on pivotal topics and figures in the history of American intellectual endeavor and achievement. Includes concise biographical entries, suggested further reading, extensive cross-references and a complete index.
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List of Contributors.

Introduction.

How to use this Book.

Dictionary Entries A-Z.

Index.

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Richard Wightman Fox is a cultural historian and Professor of History at Boston University. He taught previously at Reed College and Yale University. He is the author of Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography and So Far Disordered in Mind: Insanity in California; and co-editor, with Jackson Lears, of The Culture of Consumption and The Power of Culture.

James T. Kloppenberg is an intellectual historian and Professor of History at Brandeis University. His first book, Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought 1870-1920, was awarded the Merle Curti prize from the Organization of American Historians.

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  • This is the first reference book ever to attempt to cover the entire range of American thought from the earliest colonial days to the present
  • Written by over 200 scholars representing America's most distinguished philosophers, historians and literary and social thinkers
  • Fully represents and unites the traditional schools of American thought with a multi-cultural perspective and the diversity of the American experience
  • This is the first reference book ever to attempt to cover the entire range of American thought from the earliest colonial days to the present
  • Written by over 200 scholars representing America's most distinguished philosophers, historians and literary and social thinkers
  • Fully represents and unites the traditional schools of American thought with a multi-cultural perspective and the diversity of the American experience.
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"There are entries to be read with considerable profit." History

"Much more than a conventional reference work, this volume is a sophisticated compendium that takes a refreshing up-to-date view of American intellectual culture. A wide range of thinkers is included, but the most distinctive feature of the book is the imaginative articles on topics like 'cinema', 'deconstruction', 'guilt', 'fundamentalism', 'masculinity', and many others." Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University

"Edited by two of America's most distinguished intellectual and cultural historians A Companion to American Thought reflects the best contemporary scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. Its wide-ranging entries will make this an indispensable reference work for anyone interested in American culture." Alan Brinkley, Professor of History, Columbia University

"What a Companion, or rather what a wonderful set of more than 300 plus companions! From Edith Abbott to Robert La Follette to Youth in general, the volume's varied articles take us on a reflective tour of American history, letters, and social life. Here's a journey readers will often want to begin again." Charles Tilly, University Distinguished Professor, New School for Social Research, New York

"The Companion does not rest on its laurels for having successfully met one of its admirable aims: to provide a comprehensive reference guide to 'the major concepts and thinkers in the diverse traditions of American thought.' This volume succeeds at an even nobler task: to contribute to the furtherance of constructive debates over the nature of "common knowledge" in a democracy. The Companion could hardly be more sweeping in its inclusion of the key elements that make vigorous intellectual discourse possible. Within its expansive covers, hundreds of essays provide generous evidence of the best kinds of clear thinking now available about American thought. This is indeed a necessary addition to any scholar's holdings." Martha Banta, Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles

"I recommend this book to anyone who wonders what holds Americans together. This collection of short and longer entries details the people, events and concepts that form our history and our ongoing debates with one another. In addition, the collection preserves the individual styles, perspectives and provocations of a diverse group of talented authors. Comfortably sitting side by side, these voices nonetheless express the confident and diverging individualities that are also so American." Martha Minow, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"Unlike most reference books, this one is imaginatively edited and filled with controversial judgements. Browsing through A Companion to American Thought is stimulating and challenging." Professor Richard Rorty, University of Virginia

"Many of the essays are masterfully done, precisely because they go beyond the conventional wisdom-mongering typical of encyclopaedias ... examples of intellectual history at its best." The Wilson Quarterly


"Scholars, students, and lay readers will find this work valuable, as a reference, introduction for research, or browsing tool. One of the most important reference works issued this year; recommended for all libraries." Library Journal

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