Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
The Power Elite / Edition 2

The Power Elite / Edition 2

by C. Wright Mills, Alan Wolfe


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The Power Elite / Edition 2

First published in 1956, The Power Elite stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism. C. Wright Mills examines and critiques the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, and political elite. The Power Elite can be read as a good account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written, but its underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory continues to matter very much today.

What The Power Elite informed readers of in 1956 was how much the organization of power in America had changed during their lifetimes, and Alan Wolfe's astute afterword to this new edition brings us up to date, illustrating how much more has changed since then. Wolfe sorts out what is helpful in Mills' book and which of his predictions have not come to bear, laying out the radical changes in American capitalism, from intense global competition and the collapse of communism to rapid technological transformations and ever changing consumer tastes. The Power Elite has stimulated generations of readers to think about the kind of society they have and the kind of society they might want, and deserves to be read by every new generation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195133547
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/17/2000
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 162,009
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)

About the Author

The late C. Wright Mills, Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, was a leading critic of modern American civilization. Alan Wolfe is University Professor and Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Boston University. He is the author or editor of more than ten books, including Marginalized in the Middle and One Nation, After All.

Table of Contents

The Higher Circles
Local Society
Metropolitan 400
The Celebrities
The Very Rich
The Chief Executives
The Corporate Rich
The Warlords
The Military Ascendancy
The Political Directorate
The Theory of Balance
The Power Elite
The Mass Society
The Conservative Mood
The Higher Immorality
Afterword 363(19)
Acknowledgments 382(2)
Notes 384(48)
Index 432

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The Power Elite / Edition 2 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
rebelwriter85 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Excellent sociology. Somewhat detailed and overwhelming near the middle but the ending is worth the wait.
TheAgencyReview More than 1 year ago
Some things are hard to see. That’s because their eventual impact was so profound that not only has everything subsequent to them been influenced – good and bad – on a fundamental level, but the very critical apparatus that forms the context within which the thing existed has been so fundamentally altered that one has difficultly reconstructing it. I think this is true, for example, of the silent film star Harold Lloyd. His timing, his takes, his pacing were so profoundly influential on all of comedic filmmaking after him, that it is often difficult for novices to see just what’s so innovative. Until you show them what comedy filmmaking was like before him, and they see the context that he changed. In other words, in some cases, the impact of certain works is difficult to recognize because we have trouble remembering what the world was like when the thing appeared, and because everything afterwards carried a piece of it. This problem is made even more challenging, however, because, sometimes, even though these things ended up having massive impact, at their introduction, they were so out of the mainstream that they were ignored or shouted down by their contemporaries. This latter was not, of course a problem for the eminently successful Harold Lloyd, but definitely was for C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite. For while (to read the rest of this review, please visit