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John Dewey and American Democracy (Paperback)
  • John Dewey and American Democracy (Paperback)
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John Dewey and American Democracy (Paperback)

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£21.99
Paperback 592 Pages / Published: 05/01/1993
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Over a career spanning American history from the 1880s to the 1950s, John Dewey sought not only to forge a persuasive argument for his conviction that "democracy is freedom" but also to realize his democratic ideals through political activism. Widely considered modern America's most important philosopher, Dewey made his views known both through his writings and through such controversial episodes as his leadership of educational reform at the turn of the century; his support of American intervention in World War I and his leading role in the Outlawry of War movement after the war; and his participation in both radical and anti-communist politics in the 1930s and 40s. Robert B. Westbrook reconstructs the evolution of Dewey's thought and practice in this masterful intellectual biography, combining readings of his major works with an engaging account of key chapters in his activism. Westbrook pays particular attention to the impact upon Dewey of conversations and debates with contemporaries from William James and Reinhold Niebuhr to Jane Addams and Leon Trotsky. Countering prevailing interpretations of Dewey's contribution to the ideology of American liberalism, he discovers a more unorthodox Dewey-a deviant within the liberal community who was steadily radicalized by his profound faith in participatory democracy. Anyone concerned with the nature of democracy and the future of liberalism in America-including educators, moral and social philosophers, social scientists, political theorists, and intellectual and cultural historians-will find John Dewey and American Democracy indispensable reading.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801481116
Number of pages: 592
Weight: 907 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 34 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"A major event in the history of American letters.... This book should last as the definitive word on Dewey for at least as long as Dewey lived."

-- Alan Wolfe * Washington Post Book World *

"An exceptionally intelligent, rigorous, and thorough book. Westbrook's call for a renewed appreciation of Dewey's relevance is strengthened by great learning and conviction."

-- Lewis Menand * New York Review of Books *

"Far and away the best book on Dewey yet. Westbrook's intellectual biography is scholarship at its finest, a very unusual combination of vast learning, dialectical acuity and literary skill.... This book will do a great deal to make Dewey more available and plausible, and to help his writings shape the imagination of a new generation of Americans."

-- Richard Rorty * New Leader *

"Neither a straight biography nor a narrow work of scholarship, John Dewey and American Democracy offers instead a briskly readable narrative of Dewey's lifework, focusing on his advocacy of democracy.... Westbrook's reconstruction of Dewey's evolving thought is detailed, sympathetic, and lucid."

* The Nation *

"Westbrook provides a vigorous, convincing, and readable analysis of the major episodes in Dewey's career, including his conflicts with such other prominent, public intellectuals as Randolph Bourne, Walter Lippmann, Lewis Mumford, and Reinhold Niebuhr."

-- David A. Hollinger * The Atlantic *

"A comprehensive intellectual biography of the great democratic theorist and activist.... Westbrook's scholarship is definitive, and he succeeds in defending Dewey's work against most of his important critics, and reminding us that Dewey's concerns and ambitions are still relevant to today's world."

* Kirkus Reviews *

"Robert Westbrook has written a magisterial book about America's foremost philosopher of the twentieth century, perhaps of any century. Deeply researched and carefully crafted, it is intellectual history at its most scintillating. It will be the standard for measuring not only future work on Dewey but future work in intellectual biography in general."

-- Richard W. Fox, Boston University

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