Synopses & Reviews
Jane Addams is synonymous in the American imagination with Hull-House, the legendary Chicago institution she founded, and from which she helped a generation of poor immigrants carve new lives for themselves in the midst of a desolate urban landscape. Yet as Jean Bethke Elshtain argues in this eagerly anticipated new interpretation of Addams' life and work, Addams' influence on American life and politics was far more profound than previous biographers have recognized. In addition to her pioneering work with Chicago's needy, Addams was a fascinating intellectual figure, whose voluminous writings on nearly every major issue of her day continue to speak to the complexities of politics and moral duty in American public life. Among the themes Elshtain explores are Addams' embrace of "social feminism" and her challenge to the usual cleavage between "conservative" and "liberal" themes Elshtain brilliantly explores in her own writings. Elshtain describes how the seemingly mundane problems Addams faced in running the Hull-House home and school would later inspire some of her most brilliant efforts in international diplomacy during the First World War and became the foundation for her vision of a humane and powerful nation.
In this eagerly anticipated interpretation of the life and work of quintessential "public intellectual" Jane Addams (1860-1935), Jean Bethke Elshtain explores Addams's legacy thematically and chronologically, recounting her embrace of "social feminism," her challenge to the usual cleavage between "conservative" and "liberal," and the growth of Chicago's famed Hull House into a thriving cultural and intellectual center. Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy is a rich and revealing portrait of one of the most extraordinary figures in American history.
This major new interpretive biography--by one of America's foremost public intellectuals--eloquently examines Jane Addams's cultural and political influence on her time and ours
About the Author
Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Just War Against Terror and Democracy on Trial, among other books. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois.