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Hayden cogently traces Mills's scholarship and his progressive activism to the events and thinkers of earlier generations. Ideas in major books by Mills (The Power Elite, New Men of Power, White Collar, Character and Social Structure, The Sociological Imagination) can now be better understood in light of the influences on Mills during and before his time, including the impact of two world wars, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the failures of the Soviet state, and changing relations between workers and industry in America and worldwide. The book thus brings us a new and much more complete understanding of Mills's political theories and philosophy.
With only one previous biography of Mills in print, this book is a major contribution.