THE NEW REPUBLIC READER: Eighty Years of Opinion and Debate by Dorothy -- Ed. Wickenden

THE NEW REPUBLIC READER: Eighty Years of Opinion and Debate

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Nearly 100 passionate, often confrontational essays and editorials from the first 80 years of the New Republic. Selected by former managing editor Wickenden (now national affairs editor at Newsweek), the pieces debate such issues as isolationism, Zionism, abortion, and affirmative action. Among the writers represented are Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, W.H. Auden, and Irving Howe. Originally founded as a ""journal of opinion"" by Walter Lippmann in 1914, the New Republic became identified with American liberalism. Yet a recurrent theme here is the failures of liberalism and the ineptness of liberals, whose lack of pragmatism is repeatedly defined as partly responsible for the horrors of the 20th century. In a 1940 essay, Lewis Mumford states, ""The liberal lacks confidence in himself and in his vision of life."" Diverging from the Left's often fashionable pastime of Israel-bashing, the magazine has embraced the Zionist cause -- particularly since 1974, when Martin Peretz became editor. Though vaguely critical of the Israelis on occasion, it has depicted the PLO as almost diabolical. In his strong defense of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Peretz writes, ""Confiscations, harassments, young people forced into the militias, schools closed, rapes, molestations...this was the stuff of everyday life in the web of the PLO's 'state within a state.'"" Other articles included here have proven prophetic. ""Limits of the New Left,"" written by Christopher Jencks in 1967, foresees a right-wing revival because of the New Left's lack of discipline and inability to organize itself. English teacher Janet Sideman's ""Death of a Dropout,"" also published in 1967, offers a glimpse into American classrooms that value conformity at the price of creativity and remain irrelevant to many of their students' lives. A valuable chronicle of the 20th century's most crucial debates, culled from the pages of one of our most influential periodicals.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1994
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Basic Books