Reviews

Hooked on Socialism

"In politics a community of hatred is almost always
the foundation of friendships."

—Tocqueville

Norman Podhoretz, in the March 11, 1987, Washington Post, describes Sidney Hook as "one of the most courageous intellectuals of the twentieth century." While this particular description may more aptly be used for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and others who have fought for human dignity in the face of brutal oppression. Hook has been willing to espouse unpopular causes. Though an archetypal m.an of the left, he has been second to none in decrying Communist tyranny. He is right to remind us that he condemned Soviet imperialism when the isolationist right in America was more concerned about imaginary Communists at home than real ones in Soviet uniforms.

At age 85, Hook can look back on a distinguished career as an academic philosopher and controversialist. Born in New York City to immigrant Jewish parents. Hook spent most of his life exploring philosophic and existential questions within 10 miles of his place of birth: first, as a student at City College of New York, caught between the redemptive promise of revolutionary Marxism and the dialectical sharpness of his philosophy professor Morris Raphael Cohen; later, as a graduate student of John Dewey at Columbia University, where he slowly abandoned Marxist-Leninism for Dewey's pragmatic method...

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