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Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers Hardcover – May 15, 2009
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“Encounters is the account of a modest man, a very profound thinker. His accounts of men and his meetings with them and his understandings of them are very valuable, thoughtful, and not at all self-indulgent. They tell us very much about his subjects and also, unconsciously, about the qualities of himself.”—John Lukacs, author and historian
“Paul Gottfried, an American intellectual of superior talent, has been treated abominably by Academia, not only for his conservatism but for his incorruptibility. Yet, Gottfried’s memoir proceeds without bitterness, self-justification, or a settling of scores. This sprightly account of his career in Academia and conservative politics illuminates the intellectual and political currents of our time and abound with fresh insights and mature evaluations of persons and places.”—Eugene D. Genovese, author and historian
“It was a real treat to coast the curve of time with Professor Gottfried as his many milestones of intellectual history reveal their greatness with charm and their foibles with candor. The author's searing self-awareness is an inspiration to all who eschew vulgarity for nobility.”— Rabbi Daniel Lapin; President, American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
“Paul Gottfried is a child of the century. He studied at Yale with Herbert Marcuse and has known Pat Buchanan, Will Herberg, Sam Frances, Richard Nixon, and many others. His autobiography Encounters narrates his intellectual journey, and will be indispensable as a source when the history of the conservative movement is written.”—Jeffrey Hart, professor emeritus of English at Dartmouth College, cultural critic, columnist
“Political philosopher Paul Gottfried, well-known for his studies of modern ideologies such as Marxism and neoconservatism, reveals the personal and intellectual influences that have made him one of our most provocative scholars. In this candid and beautifully written memoir, we learn more about friends such as Herbert Marcuse, Richard Nixon, and Patrick Buchanan than in a shelf of biographies. Encounters is indispensable reading for every student of modern American conservatism.”—Lee Edwards, author and Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation
"What jumps off the pages of Encounters is the amazing intellectual courage of an author who clearly and unequivocally states and defends what he believes. Agree with Gottfried or not, you will appreciate his refreshing honesty. A penetrating read."—L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center
Top Customer Reviews
Gottfried's autobiography reviews his growth as a person and scholar. He presents his life as a series of "encounters" with influential people, some famous and others not. His paleoconservatism comes out in his interactions with his students at Elizabethtown College. Their ignorance, typical of their generation, dismays him. They know virtually nothing about Western civilization except its reputation, altogether counterfactual, for the worst imaginable oppression of of women, nonwhites, Jews, homosexuals, etc.
The author's most consequential encounters were with his father, Andrew Gottfried, an interwar Jewish refugee from Hungary.Read more ›
Having spent an enormous amount of time trudging through "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" to write my reader's guide to the President's autobiography, "America's Half-Blood Prince," I was pleased to see that Dr. Gottfried made consistently opposite choices in molding his memoir. While "Dreams" is long, "Encounters" is short. "Dreams" is evasive, featureless, and self-absorbed, while "Encounters" is forthright, anecdotal, and interesting about Gottfried's better-known friends.
Gottfried's academic career has been notoriously incommensurate with his talents. In "Encounters," he refers to his professional frustrations with a melancholic wit reminiscent of Nabokov's narrators, in asides such as "... a point that I have made to a generally unreceptive public in my recent books".
Yet, the lack of an Ivy League chair is not an impediment to striking up a dialogue with idiosyncratic thinkers, as Gottfried repeatedly did through the U.S. Mail: "What makes my life ... perhaps even worth reading about is that it has gone nowhere in particular but has been nonetheless packed with fascinating encounters".
Gottfried, for example, wrote to Richard Nixon, the most intellectual President since at least Coolidge, after the former President had publicly praised his 1986 book "The Search for Historical Meaning." They became rather good friends.Read more ›
Although Gottfried devotes considerable attention to his father, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant who became a successful businessman and local civic leader (whom Gottfried regards as more successful than himself), his book primarily dwells on various intellectual figures of diverse ideological hues, including the anarcho-libertarian Murray Rothbard; right-wing populist Samuel Francis; Catholic rightist Thomas Molnar; conservatives, Russell Kirk, John Lukacs, Robert Nisbet, Peter Stanlis, M. E. Bradford, and Will Herberg; Marxists Eugene Genovese, Paul Piccone and Herbert Marcuse. As someone who might seem as an outlier in this group, he also includes former President Richard Nixon, whom Gottfried shows to be a deep thinker. Moreover, it might be news to many readers of Gottfried's political articles that he would have close intellectual associates on the left, which exemplifies both his broadmindedness and that of these particular leftists. Gottfried mainly discusses these individuals in separate vignettes, which he weaves together into a coherent whole.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Paul Gottfried's "Encounters" chronicles his meetings with fellow right-wing culture warriors, like Pat Buchanan or Sam Francis, as is to be expected. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Joseph Hirsch
Paul Gottfried's political views are not everybody's cup of tea, But this memoir of his encounters with the great and near-great in public life and academia will give any reader... Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by Da Bookworm
Encounters is a facinating read in which the well traveled Paul Gottfried takes us to some of the lesser known corners of contemporary politics and academia. Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by Steven Larsen
Paul Edward Gottfried could be seen as the George Orwell of the current age, or, indeed, our own time-line's version of "Emmanuel Goldstein", who has been charting for decades what... Read morePublished on July 29, 2009 by Mark Wegierski