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Home > Catalog > Norman Podhoretz
Norman Podhoretz


  • 24 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 418 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.71 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 973.931092 B
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: CT275.P66824 J44 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Podhoretz, Norman
    • Intellectuals--United States--Biography
    • Jews--United States--Biography
    • Editors--United States--Biography
    • Authors, American--Biography

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521198141)

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This is the first biography of the Jewish-American intellectual Norman Podhoretz, longtime editor of the influential magazine Commentary. As both an editor and a writer, he spearheaded the countercultural revolution of the 1960s and – after he “broke ranks” – the neoconservative response. For years he defined what was at stake in the struggle against communism; recently he has nerved America for a new struggle against jihadist Islam; always he has given substance to debates over the function of religion, ethics, and the arts in our society.

The turning point of his life occurred, at the age of forty near a farmhouse in upstate New York, in a mystic clarification. It compelled him to “unlearn” much that he had earlier been taught to value, and it also made him enemies.

Revealing the private as well as the public man, Thomas L. Jeffers chronicles a heroically coherent life.


Prologue; 1. Brownsville; 2. Columbia; 3. Cambridge; 4. The family and the army; 5. The practicing critic; 6. Boss; 7. 'This was bigger than both of us'; 8. One shoe drops; 9. Dropping the other shoe; 10. Liberalism lost; 11. George Lichtheim, Pat Moynihan, and a lecture tour; 12. Domesticities, Lillian Hellman, and the question of America's nerve; 13. Moynihan, Podhoretz, and 'the party of liberty'; 14. Breaking and closing ranks; 15. Present dangers; 16. 'The great satan of the American romantic left'; 17. Regulated hatreds; 18. Culture wars; 19. A literary Indian summer; 20. Verdicts; 21. New wars for a new century; Epilogue.


"Jeffers...skillfully weaves together these and other stories of Podhoretz's dramatic ascent to the peak of influence within the liberal intellectual world." -David Linker, New York Times

"In his insightful biography of Norman Podhoretz, Jeffers has captured the substance and conscience of a man difficult to categorize, who has been a figure of consequence in the political and cultural controversies of our time." -Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

“Very few journalists have led lives consequential enough to merit a full-scale biography. Norman Podhoretz is one of the few, and this book--intelligent, thorough, admirably fair-minded--does full justice to the story of his complex and controversial life.” -Terry Teachout, drama critic, The Wall Street Journal

"A literate, insightful and well-wrought portrait of one of the most important public intellectuals of the last half century. Thomas Jeffers has served both his audience and his subject well, and in doing so has made an important contribution to the history of our times." -David Horowitz, author of Radical Son and A Cracking of the Heart

“This is a first-class account of one of the most interesting and significant men in America. Norman Podhoretz is a leading intellectual whose contribution to public debate, over many decades, has been unrivalled for incisiveness and force. This biography will delight those already familiar with his work, and serve to introduce him clearly to newcomers." -Paul Johnson, historian and author of Modern Times and A History of the American People

"Jeffers serves up a rich intellectual history of postwar America." -National Review

"...lively new biography of Podhoretz by Thomas Jeffers..." -New Criterion

"A sympathetic life of a neo-conservative icon, this book will be welcomed most by those who share Podhoretz's views." -Library Journal

"Norman Podhoretz: A Biography, a new book on the editor of Commentary from 1960 to 1995, by an extremely admiring author, Marquette University professor of English Thomas Jeffers, depicts him as both prophet and martyr." -Alternet, Norman Birnbaum

"A sympathetic life of a neo-conservative icon, this book will be welcomed most by those who share Podhoretz's views." -Library Journal

"When reading this remarkable literary intellectual biography, the reader will get a good sense of just how correct Jeff ers is about Podhoretz and his intellectual career." -Gregory L. Schneider, The Journal of American History

"...a fascinating story, and Jeffers tells it ably if not brilliantly, providing the narrative tale if not always the most probing analysis of who Podhoretz is as a thinker, a political force, and a Jew." -Eric Cohen, Jewish Review of Books

"Norman Podhoretz’s long, complex intellectual and personal odyssey has been thoroughly documented, richly annotated and sympathetically captured in Marquette University professor of literature Thomas L. Jeffers’s Norman Podhoretz: A Biography." -Barbara Kay, The Dorchester Review

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