Charles Wright Mills was a pathbreaking intellectual who transformed the independent American left in the 1940s and 1950s. Often challenging the established ideologies and approaches of fellow leftist thinkers, Mills was central to creating and developing the idea of the “public intellectual” in postwar America and laid the political foundations for the rise of the New Left in the 1960s. Written by Stanley Aronowitz, a leading sociologist and critic of American culture and history, reconstructs the making of this icon and the new dimension of American political life that followed. Blurring the rigid boundaries among philosophy, history, and social theory and between traditional orthodoxies and the radical imagination, Mills became one of the most admired and controversial thinkers of his time and was instrumental in inspiring the student and antiwar movements of the 1960s. Aronowitz reclaims this critical thinker’s reputation while emphasizing the ongoing significance of his work to debates on power in American democracy.
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