The Intellectuals and the Flag by Todd Gitlin

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"The tragedy of the left is that, having achieved an unprecedented victory in helping stop an appalling war, it then proceeded to commit suicide." So writes Todd Gitlin about the aftermath of the Vietnam War in this collection of writings that calls upon intellectuals on the left to once again engage American public life and resist the trappings of knee-jerk negativism, intellectual fads, and political orthodoxy. Gitlin argues for a renewed sense of patriotism based on the ideals of sacrifice, tough-minded criticism, and a willingness to look anew at the global role of the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. Merely criticizing and resisting the Bush administration will not do -- the left must also imagine and propose an America reformed.

Where then can the left turn? Gitlin celebrates the work of three prominent postwar intellectuals: David Riesman, C. Wright Mills, and Irving Howe. Their ambitious, assertive, and clearly written works serve as models for an intellectual engagement that forcefully addresses social issues and remains affirmative and comprehensive. Sharing many of the qualities of these thinkers' works, Todd Gitlin's blunt, frank analysis of the current state of the left and his willingness to challenge orthodoxies pave the way for a revival in leftist thought and a new liberal patriotism.


About Todd Gitlin

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Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology at Columbia University, B.A., Harvard; M.A., Michigan; Ph.D., Berkeley. Former professor, Culture, Journalism and Sociology, New York University; professor, Sociology and Director of Mass Communications, University of California, Berkeley; lecturer, Board of Community Studies, Santa Cruz; lecturer, New College, San Jose State; visiting professor, Yale, Ecole Des Hautes Etudes En Sciences Sociales (Paris), Iowa, Oslo (Norway), Wesleyan. Author, Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (1970); Busy Being Born (1974); The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the Left (1981); Inside Prime Time (1983); The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (1987); Watching Television, editor (1987); The Murder of Albert Einstein (1992); The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America is Wracked by Culture Wars (1995); Sacrifice (1999); Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives (2002); Letters To a Young Activist (2003). Recipient, Harold U. Ribalow Prize, 2000; Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Nonfiction Award. Research grants: MacArthur Foundation, Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, National Endowment for the Humanities, Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship. Contributing writer, Mother Jones. Member editorial board, Dissent and The American Scholar.
Published December 13, 2005 by Columbia University Press. 192 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Gitlin shares his feelings as a New Yorker and a liberal intellectual who dutifully hung his American flag, but who also recalled the anger he felt towards the same symbol during Vietnam.

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