In the early 1930’s in a small alcove at City College in New York a group of young, passionate, and politically radical students argued for hours about the finer points of Marxist doctrine, the true nature of socialism, and whether or not Stalin or Trotsky was the true heir to Lenin. These young intellectuals went on to write for and found some of the most well known political and literary journals of the 20th century such as The Masses, Politics, Partisan Review, Encounter, Commentary, Dissent and The Public Interest. Figures such as Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Sidney Hook, Susan Sontag, Dwight MacDonald, and Seymour Lipset penned some of the most important books of social science in the mid-twentieth century. They believed, above all else, in the importance of argument and the power of the pen. They were a vibrant group of engaged political thinkers and writers, but most importantly they were public intellectuals committed to addressing the most important political, social and cultural questions of the day.
Here, with helpful head notes and a comprehensive introduction by Neil Jumonville, The New York Intellectuals Reader brings the work of these thinkers back into conversation.