The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings

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C. Wright Mills was a radical public intellectual, a tough-talking, motorcycle-riding anarchist from Texas who taught sociology at Columbia University. Mills's three most influential books—The Power Elite, White Collar, and The Sociological Imagination—were originally published by OUP and are considered classics. The first collection of his writings to be published since 1963, The Politics of Truth contains 23 out-of-print and hard-to-find writings which show his growth from academic sociologist to an intellectual maestro in command of a mature style, a dissenter who sought to inspire the public to oppose the drift toward permanent war. Given the political deceptions of recent years, Mills's truth-telling is more relevant than ever. Seminal papers including "Letter to the New Left" appear alongside lesser known meditations such as "Are We Losing Our Sense of Belonging?" John Summers provides fresh insights in his introduction, which gives an overview of Mills's life and career. Summers has also written annotations that establish each piece's context and has drawn up a comprehensive bibliography of Mills's published and unpublished writings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Choosing from the plethora of Mills's publications is no easy task. Summers has handled this chore wisely, rejecting a handy potpourri in favor of concentrating on what Mills had to say about a particular problem: the role at intellectuals should play in contemporary society."—The New Republic

"Many of these essays...retain their capacity to inform, instruct, and occasionally even incite.... There isnt a false note in the bunch."—The American Conservative

"John Summers has done yeoman work to give these essays and lectures of Mills the resurrection they richly deserve. The Politics of Truth shows beautifully why Mills was, and remains, inspiring: because he confronted big questions and showed that intellectual work was both an adventure and a moral imperative. A splendid book."—Todd Gitlin, Columbia University

"Half provocateur and half sociologist, C. Wright Mills cuts a wide swathe through the 1950s and early 60s. But it is now more than ever that we need this coruscating foe of cant and complacency. Mills addresses a world as old as today's war and tomorrow's industrialized passivity. Read him!"—Russell Jacoby, author of The Last Intellectuals

"The collection sheds much light on the man who wrote these classics. It stands as a valuable reference and supplement to the life work of a brilliant and daring American intellectual who died too young. Whether you agree or disagree with Mills, the work and the man can provide valuable lessons on what is truly important to us and challenge us to determine for ourselves where each of us should stand in our present epoch."—The Epoch Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195343052
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Summers is the author of Every Fury on Earth and a Visiting Scholar at the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

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Table of Contents

New Man of Power, John H. Summers
1. The Powerless People: The Role of the Intellectual in Society
2. The Intellectual and the Labor Leader
3. Sociological Poetry
4. Contribution to "Our Country and Our Culture: A Symposium"
5. On Intellectual Craftsmanship
6. Thorstein Veblen
7. IBM plus Reality plus Humanism= Sociology
8. Are We Losing Our Sense of Belonging?
9. The Conservative Mood
10. Mass Society and Liberal Education
11. On Knowledge and Power
12. The Power Elite: Comment on Criticism
13. Science and Scientists
14. A Pagan Sermon to the Christian Clergy
15. The Man in the Middle
16. The Big City
17. Culture and Politics: The Fourth Epoch
18. The Cultural Apparatus
19. The Decline of the Left
20. On Latin America, the Left, and the U.S.
21. Soviet Journal
22. Listen, Yankee! The Cuban Case
23. Letter to the New Left
Bibliographical Note
The Writings of C. Wright Mills

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