David S. Brown: Rave reviews for his bio of Hofstadter
If you were David S. Brown, these would be heady days, indeed. His credentials, after all, are modest ones: 1995 Ph.D., University of Toledo; 1992 M.A., University of Akron; 1990 B.A., Wright State University; and he teaches at a modest institution: Elizabethtown College. Apparently free of overwhelming pressures to publish, Brown was able to devote ten years of post-doctoral research and writing to his biography of Richard Hofstadter. It was a brilliant choice of subject and he was fortunate to win acceptance of his manuscript by the University of Chicago Press. This spring, it published his Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. Here, btw, is its opening chapter.
Now, Brown is reaping the fruit of years of hard work: blurbs by Peter Gay and Michael Kazin; publication in the UK; reviews by Robert S. Boynton in BookForum, David Greenberg at Slate; Adam Kirsch in the New York Sun, Wilfred McClay at Center for Ethics and Public Policy, Eric Rauchway at Altercation and POTUS, Carlin Romano at the Chronicle of Higher Education; Christopher Shay in the Boston Globe; John H. Summers in the New York Observer; Sam Tannenhaus in the New York Times, Sean Wilentz in The New Republic and, apparently, one still in the works by Scott McLemee; and his own op-ed in the LA Times. McClay is remarkably critical of Hofstadter, but no one has really laid a glove on Brown and the review by Tanenhaus should send book sales soaring. It's great to see these rewards to a struggle up from academic obscurity.
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