Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.00
  • Save: $1.35 (5%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Social Darwinism in Ameri... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Social Darwinism in American Thought Paperback – September 1, 1992

ISBN-13: 004-6442055031 ISBN-10: 0807055034 Edition: Reprint

Buy New
Price: $25.65
30 New from $14.08 37 Used from $1.49 1 Collectible from $50.00
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$25.65
$14.08 $1.49
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$2.75
Best%20Books%20of%202014
$25.65 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Social Darwinism in American Thought + Anti-Intellectualism in American Life + The Paranoid Style in American Politics
Price for all three: $48.51

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807055034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807055038
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The much-honored late historian Hofstadter inaugurated the study of social Darwinism in his 1944 Ph.D. thesis, reprinted here with an introduction by noted contemporary historian Foner.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

A book that is in many ways a model of its kind . . . Mr. Hofstadter is compact, lucid, informed, vigorous . . . If you really want to know why and how some of the contradictions in American social thought came into being, Social Darwinism is as excellent a study as you can hope to find. —The New York Times

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 8 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By David Frank on May 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Typically, I bestow five stars on books I think profitable to read. This book is a classic: it is imperative to read.
I disagree with the reviewer below (Mr. Landon) who calls for a repudiation of natural selection. I do not believe that sufficient evidence exists to recall the theory of natural selection.
Richard Hofstaedter is not, I repeat, is not calling for that, either. Recalling a scientific theory because of political difficulties caused by misguided adherents is neither right nor necessary. And Richard Hofstaedter demonstrates why it is not necessary right here in this book.
The take-away from this book is that social Darwinism, the belief that only the "fittest" (whatever that means) people among us should survive (rule, whatever), is on shaky ground. Always a morally repugnant doctrine, Hofstaedter shows social Darwinism to be logically suspect as well.
As Hofstaedter points out, one can start with the social Darwinist's appropriation of (or more accurately with their failure to reckon with) the term "natural". Darwin's principle of natural selection never addressed individuals within a species, and its application to individuals is a tremendous mistake. Writing about individuals striving to be "fittest", Hofstaedter here, from the pen of Mr. Darwin himself:
"People who are selfish and contentious will not cohere, and without coherence, nothing can be effected."
Rugged individualism is repudiated by its supposed inventor, and is fatally wounded.
One ponders the origin of the social instinct. Social Darwinists believe it to be contrived. But we were either created or selected to have it, this Darwin seems to know. And we should know it, too.
Hofstaedter avoids bombast, ideology, and religion.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Richard Hofstadter is an excellent historian of the trends in American political, social, and religious thought. This book chronicles the rise and fall of Herbert Spencer's philosophy as a reinforcing doctrine for laissez-faire political economy. Hofstadter deftly combines his own observations with carefully selected quotes from the thinkers themselves. One lesson that may be gleaned from this work is that controversial and complex ideas such as Darwinian evolution may be used for a multiplicity of purposes, some of them conflicting. For those who seek a greater insight to the struggle between individualism and collectivism in American political culture. I would also recommend reading Will Durant's chapter on Herbert Spencer in The Story of Philosophy as a supplement.
8 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jack Marlando on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
If by chance you are unaware of what Social Dawinism is and/or do not know how it has flowed through America's bloodstream (most virtually since the Civil War) you are in for a reader's exploration that is destined to change your world view. For sure, you will realize how social Darwinism is alive and well today and, I offer, that you will be howling to leave it by the wayside by the time you've turned the last page of this unexpected history. This is a cornerstone read for the history buff and a must read for anyone seeking reasons why life--for most of us--is not as joyful or pleasant as it could be...In this light Richard Hofstdter's book is a teacher of both the mind and heart!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book doesn't really take much of a position. Rather, it is a historical chronicle positions others have taken. But if there is a hidden 'thesis' to this book, my guess is that it would look something like this: Evolution is a unique science because it touches on the very idea of who humans are, individually and as a group. Becuase of this, there has been a great urge to make sweeping proclomations applying evolution to politics, ethics, economics, etc. This book is the historical record of various attempts.

What one learns in this book is that far from being limited to Spencer and the laissez-faire crowd, evolution has been invoked to support just about every governmental and economic scheme imaginable: Kropotkin tied 'mutual aid' to anarchism; Marx applied it to communism; Spencer to capitalism; Dewey to government interventionism, etc....etc....

Hofstadter takes us on a ride that begins with Darwin and winds its way through these varied schemes. Everyone, it seems, wanted to apply this newly found science to their side before the other guy could monopolize it! If you couldn't link your beliefs to evolutionary support, then your beliefs may risk seeming unscientific (especially if the other guy COULD claim evolutionary support). And this is the story of that multifarious race.

Obviously Spencer and Sumner are written about quite a bit, as they have become the public face of 'Social darwinim." (As it is a bastard philosophy, I refuse to capitalise the "d" in Social darwinism.) Kropotkin and those who tied evolution to altruism are also gone over a good deal. From there, we get a survey of the often neglected pragmatists and their understanding of Darwinism (I think they got it right; particuluarly William James.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?