Triumphant capitalism seems nowadays to be a fact of nature, requiring no name and admitting, as Margaret Thatcher famously put it, of “no alternative.” Neither American Capitalism nor Transcending Capitalism shrinks from “naming the system,” as perplexed New Leftists once struggled to do when trying to articulate their own alternative. But having named it, neither book takes as its primary task to define or fully describe that economic and sociocultural system. Rather, both are concerned principally with how twentieth-century American intellectuals, broadly construed, oriented and addressed themselves to the idea of capitalism in light of their respective historical moments’ shifting economic and social realities. Some reformist thinkers came to deny the efficacy of “capitalism” for describing a political–economic order which they believed to be rapidly passing away; their rivals to the right, meanwhile, mounted a reinvigorated defense of the term and its classical implications. While Daniel Bell announced in his 1960 essay on “The End of Ideology in the West” that post-World War II intellectuals had achieved a “rough consensus” on the desirability of the welfare state and political pluralism, the essays in American Capitalism suggest a more complicated picture. The “age of consensus,” that favorite punching bag of recent historians of the United States, takes a few more ritual knocks in the Lichtenstein volume. But the book's essays, in conjunction with Howard Brick's monograph, do establish that the lively discourse on the future of American society which proceeded in the aftermath of World War II was also part of a continuous debate that ran across most of the century's course. Bell suggested one theme of that debate when he argued that Western intellectuals must turn their attention away from political economy in order to address “the stultifying aspects of contemporary culture,” which could not be adequately framed in traditional right-versus-left terms. If Bell's generation, along with the younger New Left thinkers who were soon to appear, found the contradictions of capitalism to be decreasingly pressing, they would find sufficient challenge when they engaged instead with the knotty social and cultural issues of modern America.