Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The History Teacher Review of American Prophet

Just saw this review of American Prophet by Terry A. Cooney, dean of the college of liberal arts at Towson University.

My sense is that Dean Cooney is very attuned to fairness and evenhandedness; I even get some praise in that department. But I wonder about his conclusion that McWilliams displayed "an inability to apply common principles of judgment to left and to right," and that this led to "inconsistency and evasion." I don't think those qualities characterized McWilliams's work as a whole, but I interviewed several people who shared Cooney's concerns, particularly when it came to The Nation's posture toward the Soviet Union.

By the way, Dean Cooney is the author of two related titles: The Rise of the New York Intellectuals: Partisan Review and Its Circle, 1934-1945 and Balancing Acts: American Thought and Culture in the 1930s. His online review of American Prophet is presented in association with the History Cooperative.

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