The Paranoid Style in American Politics is a collection of essays by Richard Hofstadter describing an enduring trait in American life. Any observer of the American scene cannot help but be amazed at the persistence of this, and Hofstadter’s catalogue of McCarthyists, Redbaiters, Klan members, Know-nothings, and religious zealots, Palmer Raids, all show that nativist paranoia has been, to quote Phil Gramm--of all people--"a recessive gene in the American character" since the Mayflower.

I came across this book because of the big book--The American Republic--he had co-authored. My history teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School used the big book in his grade 11 history class.

I owe my, possibly obsessive, interest in American politics to this teacher, the time I was in San Francisco--1967--and the power, nobility, and stupidity it always betrays.

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