Paul Hollander is dogged, if not downright mulish, in his intellectual focus. As is the case in Soviet and American Society and his celebrated Political Pilgrims, this collection of previously published articles and reviews explores the perceptions and beliefs of American intellectuals in regard to Marxist-Leninist countries. What Hollander lacks in the flourish and breadth of, say a Paul Johnson, he more than makes up for with a depth of insight on an important topic. Simply put, his thesis is that American intellectuals alienated from mainstream values and institutions have a need to idealize adversaries of our system of constitutional democracy.
Indeed, in discussing aging Sovietologist and former diplomat George Kennan, Hollander writes, "as Mr. Kennan's appreciation for American society goes down, his esteem for its adversaries rises."
Hollander has seen much of other political and social systems and perhaps that is partial explanation of his continuing study of those who advocate the radical change of American society. He explains in an epilogue that he was born to a Jewish home in Hungary, and that he was 11 when Hitler's Nazi army occupied his first homeland in March 1944. In January the following year Stalin's Communist army swept out their totalitarian predecessors to impose their own twisted vision of the good society.
Despite superior achievement in school in the postwar...