Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.78 X 8.82 X 1.24 inches | 1.58 pounds

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About the Author

Gerald Sorin is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is the author of A Time for Building: The Third Migration, 1880-1920 (Volume 3 of The Jewish People in America), available from Johns Hopkins.


"Sorin does a solid and convincing job of chronicling Howe's life and times."
-The Jewish Quarterly Review

"Irving Howe"s career, with its constantly shifting strands of political activism, literary commentary, and accessible Jewish scholarship, makes a great subject for an intellectual biography. Painstakingly researched and fluently written, Gerald Sorin's book strikes just the right balance between sympathetic identification and critical distance. Making excellent use of interviews, memoirs, and unpublished letters, Sorin recreates the many significant issues that engaged Howe. He brings considerable drama to Howe's gradual break with Marxist sectarianism, his shifting perspectives on socialism, his momentous reconnection to Jewish culture, his battles with the New Left, and the literary controversies that accompanied his steady growth as a subtle reader and vigorous, penetrating critic."
-Morris Dickstein, author, Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties

"Gerald Sorin has written a lively and compelling biography of Irving Howe. A New York intellectual, Howe figured in most of the major and many of the minor debates of mid-twentieth-century America: socialism, modernism, Yiddish culture, civil rights, the new politics of postwar America, and the antiwar movement of the turbulent sixties. Howe spoke out forcefully and fearlessly, carving a place for intellectuals with moral vision. Sorin"s first biography deftly captures the complexity of the man and his eras."
-Deborah Dash Moore, author of To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A.

"Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent offers such an intellectually detailed and conceptually animated account of Howe's work. Sorin did an excellent job."
-Magill's Literary Annual

"What Sorin has accomplished in this beautifully written, balanced and probing intellectual biography is the most complete picture we have of Howe, a portrait of how one Jewish intellectual and activist struggled daily to balance scholarship and politics and the life of the mind and a life of action. . . . Sorin has ably captured the life and passion of this most unusual man, whose commitment to democracy is a legacy still worth cherishing."
-LA Times