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Appointment Denied: The Inquisition of Bertrand Russell

Appointment Denied: The Inquisition of Bertrand Russell Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the spring of 1940 the Great Depression was still spreading misery throughout the world, and war in Europe threatened to drag America into the conflict. Amid these global troubles a tempest in a teapot was brewing on the island of Manhattan, where the board of the City College of New York had just appointed the renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell to teach. With the appointment of this most celebrated of philosophers, the board had intended to boost the school's image. Instead it found itself suddenly embroiled in a controversy involving the city's conservative Episcopal bishop, charges that it was encouraging radical and communist views at the college, and political in-fighting between the popular liberal mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, and corrupt Tammany Hall politicians with a hidden agenda.

Journalist Thom Weidlich masterfully reconstructs this major political imbroglio, which not only captured the attention of New Yorkers but very quickly received national coverage. As political theater, with both farcical and dramatic elements, the denial of Russell's appointment is interesting in and of itself: The sanctimonious and outraged Bishop Manning demands to know how the board could have chosen a man with such radical views on sex, marriage, and religion. Then, amazingly, a seemingly ordinary Brooklyn housewife files a lawsuit to stop Russell's appointment. Journalists begin to wonder, What is her motive? Is she being manipulated by Tammany Hall politicians and their rivalry with the liberal mayor? Before long civil libertarians are holding rallies at City College in defense of the philosopher and academic freedom. And for Russell this trying situation couldn't have come at a worse time with his funds running low and his third marriage falling apart.

But beyond its intrinsic interest, this 1940s' clash between an independent thinker and the guardians of public morality is still of the greatest relevance in light of today's cultural debates and arguments over standards of decency. Journalist Thom Weidlich has written an engrossing page-turner that brings recent history to life and makes us rethink the perennial issues of free thought and moral standards at publicly funded institutions.

Book News Annotation:

In 1940, New York City's Board of Higher Education appointed philosopher Russell to the faculty of publicly funded City College. Russell found himself embroiled in a controversy involving the city's conservative Episcopal bishop, with charges that the college was encouraging radical and communist views. This clash between an independent thinker and the guardians of public morality is still relevant in light of today's cultural debates. Weidlich is a former reporter for the National Law Journal.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

In the spring of 1940 the board of the City College of New York appointed the renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell to teach. With the appointment of this most celebrated of scholars, the board had intended to boost the school's image. Instead it found itself suddenly embroiled in a controversy involving the city's conservative Episcopal bishop and charges that it was encouraging radical and communist views at the college. Journalist Thom Weidlich masterfully reconstructs this major political imbroglio, which not only captured the attention of New Yorkers but very quickly received national coverage as a cause celebre. This 1940s' clash between an independent thinker and the self-appointed guardians of public morality retains its relevance in light of today's cultural debates and arguments over standards of decency and political correctness.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 217-223) and index.

About the Author

Thom Weidlich is the managing editor for Direct magazine and a former reporter for the National Law Journal.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573927888
Author:
Weidlich, Thom
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Location:
Amherst, N.Y. :
Subject:
Higher
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
College teachers
Subject:
Russell, bertrand, 1872-1970
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
Russell, Bertrand
Subject:
Education-Higher Education
Subject:
Modern
Series Volume:
EDO-RC-99-1
Publication Date:
20000331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
233
Dimensions:
9.27 x 6.24 x 0.85 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

Education » General
Education » Higher Education
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Appointment Denied: The Inquisition of Bertrand Russell
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Product details 233 pages Prometheus Books - English 9781573927888 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In the spring of 1940 the board of the City College of New York appointed the renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell to teach. With the appointment of this most celebrated of scholars, the board had intended to boost the school's image. Instead it found itself suddenly embroiled in a controversy involving the city's conservative Episcopal bishop and charges that it was encouraging radical and communist views at the college. Journalist Thom Weidlich masterfully reconstructs this major political imbroglio, which not only captured the attention of New Yorkers but very quickly received national coverage as a cause celebre. This 1940s' clash between an independent thinker and the self-appointed guardians of public morality retains its relevance in light of today's cultural debates and arguments over standards of decency and political correctness.
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