Horowitz, David (Joel) 1939-
HOROWITZ, David (Joel) 1939-
PERSONAL: Born January 10, 1939, in New York, NY; son of Philip (an activist) and Blanche (Brown) Horowitz; married Elissa Krauthamer, June 14, 1959 (divorced); children: Jonathan, Sarah, Benjamin, Anne. Education: Columbia University, A.B., 1959; University of California—Berkeley, M.A., 1961, graduate study, 1962; London School of Economics and Political Science (London, England), graduate study, 1964.
ADDRESSES: Office—c/o Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 4401 Wilshire Dr., 4th Fl., Los Angeles, CA 90010.
CAREER: Writer. Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, London, England, former director of research and publications; Ramparts (magazine), Berkeley, CA, editor, 1969-74; Second Thoughts Project, Washington, DC, founder and codirector, beginning 1986; Center for the Study of Popular Culture, president and codirector. Republican Party National Convention, alternate delegate, 1996.
Student, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1962.
Shakespeare: An Existential View, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 1965.
The Free World Colossus, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 1965, revised edition, 1971, published as From Yalta to Vietnam: American Foreign Policy in the Cold War, Penguin (London, England), 1967.
Hemispheres North and South: Economic Disparity among Nations, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1966.
Empire and Revolution: A Radical Interpretation of Contemporary History, Random House (New York, NY), 1969, published as Imperialism and Revolution, Allen Lane (London, England), 1969.
The Enigma of Economic Growth: A Case Study of Israel, Praeger (New York, NY), 1972.
The Fate of Midas and Other Essays, Ramparts Press (Palo Alto, CA), 1973.
The First Frontier: The Indian Wars and America's Origins, 1607-1776, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.
(With Peter Collier) The Kennedys: An American Drama, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1984.
(With Peter Collier) The Fords: An American Epic, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1987.
The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Peter Collier) Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Peter Collier and David Lee) On the Edge: A History of America from 1890 to 1945, West (St. Paul, MN), 1990.
(With Peter Collier) Deconstructing the Left: From Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, Second Thoughts Books (Lanham, MD), 1991.
(With Peter Collier) The Roosevelts: An American Saga, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.
Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (autobiography), Free Press (New York, NY), 1997.
The Politics of Bad Faith: The Radical Assault on America's Future, Free Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Hating Whitey: And Other Progressive Causes, Spence Publishing (Dallas, TX), 1999.
The Art of Political War: And Other Radical Pursuits, Spence Publishing (Dallas, TX), 2000.
How to Beat the Democrats: And Other Subversive Ideas, Spence Publishing (Dallas, TX), 2002.
Uncivil Wars: The Controversy over Reparations for Slavery, Encounter Books (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
Columnist for the online magazine Salon. Contributor to periodicals, including Nation and Studies on the Left.
Containment and Revolution, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1967, published as Containment and Revolution: Western Policy towards Social Revolution, 1917 to Vietnam, Anthony Blond (London, England), 1967.
Marx and Modern Economics, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1968.
Corporations and the Cold War, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1970.
Issac Deutscher: The Man and His Work, Macdonald and Co. (London, England), 1971.
Radical Sociology: An Introduction, Canfield Press (San Francisco, CA), 1971.
(With Michael Lerner and Craig Pyes, and contributor) Counterculture and Revolution, Random House (New York, NY), 1972.
(With Peter Collier) Second Thoughts: Former Radicals Look Back at the Sixties, Madison Books (Lanham, MD), 1989.
(With Peter Collier) Second Thoughts about Race in America, Madison Books (Lanham, MD), 1991.
(With Peter Collier) The Heterodoxy Handbook: How to Survive the PC Campus, Regnery (Lanham, MD), 1994.
(With Peter Collier) The Race Card: White Guilt, Black Resentment, and the Assault on Truth and Justice, Prima Publications (Rocklin, CA), 1997.
(With Peter Collier) The Anti-Chomsky Reader, Encounter Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
Past editor, Heterodoxy; editor in chief, FrontPage Mag.com.
ADAPTATIONS: Some of Horowitz's books have been adapted as audio books, including Hating Whitey: And Other Progressive Causes.
SIDELIGHTS: David Horowitz and his collaborator Peter Collier are best known in political circles as the founders of the Second Thoughts Project, an association of former sixties radicals who have since denounced the agenda of the New Left. Perhaps no other conservative writers are more ideally suited for this task: Horowitz and Collier began their association while on the editorial board of the radical Ramparts magazine in the late 1960s, and they were avowed left wingers who wrote numerous books and magazine articles in the service of radical causes. Journeying to the opposite end of the political spectrum, the two became equally enthusiastic about conservatism and a free market economy, and have presented their ideas in such works as Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties and Deconstructing the Left: From Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. National Review correspondent Joseph Sobran observed that Horowitz and Collier are producing "must reading" about the lasting national effects of sixties radicalism, "and they write about it with intelligence, gossipy intimacy, and a sort of savage introspection." Sobran concluded: "There's not a trace of sentimentality about the Left's 'idealism,' which they correctly interpret as malicious fantasizing."
Horowitz's unconventional childhood prepared him for left wing politics and socialist idealism. He was born and raised in Queens by parents who belonged to the Communist Party, and his childhood memories include comic-book burnings at a communist-run summer camp for children. Later, both of Horowitz's parents lost their teaching jobs in the McCarthy era. Their travails were not lost on young David, who began writing political commentary in the early 1960s. "As members of a new radical generation, our political identity was virginal," the author recalls in his autobiography, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey. "We had the benefit of everybody's doubt. We could position ourselves as radical critics of American society without having to defend the crimes committed by the Soviet bloc....And we could express our moral outrage at Communist excesses."
Moral outrage defined the tenor of much of Horowitz's writing. In The Free World Colossus, his first widely-read book, he denounces the United States as the architect of the Cold War in its pursuit of a monopoly on international power. "The heaviest price exacted by the cold war has been the moral contamination of people," wrote Arnold S. Kaufman in the Nation. "Perhaps one should accept the toll with reflective calm. David Horowitz has refused to do so. The result is a book that describes and interprets the history of the cold war in a way that challenges, excites, provokes, angers and inspires. Horowitz has written a sincere and important book, which says much that desperately needs saying in these times of madness."
In 1968 Horowitz established himself in Berkeley, California, and began working as an editor of Ramparts, a radical magazine that served as a forum for the political views of the New Left. Among the other causes championed by Ramparts was the Black Panther Party, and Horowitz became personally acquainted with many of the most important Panther leaders. His eventual disillusionment with the New Left began with his realization that Black Panther violence was being overlooked by left-wing journalists in the same way that Josef Stalin's crimes had been overlooked by an earlier generation of committed revolutionaries. "Like all radicals, I lived in some fundamental way in a castle in the air," Horowitz recalled in his autobiography. "Now I had hit the ground hard, and had no idea how to get up."
In fact, Horowitz did not flounder for long. He formed a partnership with Collier, and the two wrote three well-received family biographies: one about the Kennedys, one about the Rockefellers, and one about the Henry Ford dynasty.
Far more provocative are the political writings Horowitz produced since becoming a conservative in the early 1980s. With Collier, or on his own, Horowitz challenged both the left-wing politics of the 1960s and what he saw as the lasting ill effects of those politics in American society. Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties was widely reviewed in the nation's political magazines, with opinions on the work varying according to the reviewer's own ideology. Not surprisingly, Saul Landau in the leftist Progressive labeled Horowitz and Collier "defective defectors" and characterized their book as "disconnected and bilious." Paul Berman presented a different approach in the New Republic when he noted that the authors "have produced pieces of lasting value. These chapters go to the heart of the matter, to the explosive quality of the New Left, to the notion, so crucial to the New Left's appeal, that you can batter down your own limitations, that conventions are oppressions, that an existential choice can turn you into something better, more heroic, more powerful."
In Leaders from the 1960s, Thomas R. West stated that Collier and Horowitz may have broken from left-wing politics, but their new right-wing views have proven equally strident. Destructive Generation, the critic declared, "is the report of a conversion. Collier and Horowitz discovered human imperfection, but this did not make them humble. Instead, they insisted, with an aggressive self-righteousness, that everyone should be judged by their new standards.... Even if the reader is not convinced, however, the book does illustrate something about the uses of critical introspection in the forming of a politics that is at once personal and responsible."
Horowitz gives more personal details about his political conversion in his autobiography, Radical Son. "Many intellectuals have made the voyage from Left to Right in recent decades," observed Christopher Caldwell in Commentary. "But few have come from as deep inside the hard Left as Horowitz, and none has retained more of the sixties style.... Radical Son, his memoir, charts a trek from one political commitment to something approaching its opposite, and the events that propelled him on his way." Reason magazine correspondent Steven Hayward noted: "Taken as a whole, Radical Son is a compelling story, because it goes farther than many of the previous narratives in conveying how deeply radicalism cuts into one's character and psychology. The supposedly redemptive power of radical ideology, Horowitz makes clear, reaches into every corner of the soul, thus making a break from radicalism a desperate and personally devastating matter." In Commonweal, Julia Vitullo-Martin stated: "This is an American journey of sorts—traveling the short road from authoritarian left to demagogic right. But does the journey, excruciatingly detailed in Radical Son, have anything to tell the rest of us? The answer is yes, in part because the story of a red-diaper American childhood has seldom been told, and perhaps never so well." Hayward concluded of the former radical: "Horowitz has not changed that much since the 1960s; he is still at war with the dominant culture. So in the end he is in harmony with his essential political being."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Horowitz, David, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, Free Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Leaders from the 1960s, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1994, pp. 349-353.
American History, April, 1995, p. 27.
American Spectator, December, 2000, Mark Hemingway, review of The Art of Political War: And Other Radical Pursuits, p. 69.
Booklist, January 1, 1997, pp. 9-10; October 15, 1998, review of The Politics of Bad Faith: The Radical Assault on America's Future, p. 394; August, 2000, Ray Olson, review of The Art of Political War, p. 2085.
Commentary, October, 1984, p. 66; March, 1988, pp. 78-82; June, 1997, Christopher Caldwell, review of Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, pp. 64-67; April, 2002, Jacob Heilbrunn, review of Uncivil Wars: The Controversy over Reparations for Slavery, p. 68.
Commonweal, May 23, 1997, Julia Vitullo-Martin, review of Radical Son, pp. 26-27.
Cosmopolitan, June, 1994, p. 18.
Detroit News, June 4, 1997; October 4, 1997.
Dissent, winter, 1998, review of Radical Son, p. 118.
Entertainment Weekly, July 8, 1994, p. 50.
Guardian (London, England), May 30, 2001, Duncan Campbell, "Portrait: Right Turn," p. 6.
Human Events, May 15, 1998, review of Radical Son, p. 20; February 19, 1999, review of The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 21.
Insight on the News, November 13, 2000, Stephen Goode, review of The Art of Political War, p. 14.
Journal of American History, June, 1995, p. 284.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1998, review of The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 1260; October 1, 1999, review of Hating Whitey: And Other Progressive Causes, p. 1547.
Library Journal, December, 1996, p. 104; July, 1998, review of The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 114; October 15, 1999, review of Hating Whitey, p. 87; August, 2000, Jack Forman, review of The Art of Political War, p. 130; July, 2002, Michael A. Genovese, review of How to Beat the Democrats: And Other Subversive Ideas, p. 101.
Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1992, p. E1; April 14, 1993, p. B1; February 28, 1997, p. E1.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 19, 1989, p. 2; October 11, 1998, review of The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 4.
Maclean's, July 16, 1984, p. 50.
Mother Jones, August-September, 1984, p. 56; January, 1988, p. 10.
Nation, February 21, 1966, Arnold S. Kaufman, review of The Free World Colossus, pp. 214-216; April 6, 1985, p. 388; October 31, 1987, p. 475; November 27, 1989, pp. 630-632; February 17, 1997, pp. 30-33.
National Review, March 24, 1989, Joseph Sobran, review of Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties, pp. 43-44; June 13, 1994, pp. 65-68; March 24, 1997, pp. 50-51; August 9, 1999, review of The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 56; September 30, 2002, Michael Potemra, review of How to Beat the Democrats, p. 52.
New Leader, December 16, 1996, pp. 5-8.
New Republic, August 27, 1984, pp. 31-34; April 24, 1989, Paul Berman, review of Destructive Generation, pp. 26-34; June 26, 1989, pp. 38-42.
Newsweek, July 2, 1984, p. 25.
New York Times, April 23, 1989, p. 18; June 1, 1989, p. C19; July 16, 1989.
New York Times Book Review, March 4, 1979, p. 11; June 19, 1994, p. 13; February 16, 1997, p. 34; June 14, 1998, review of Radical Son, p. 32.
People, August 29, 1994, p. 29.
Progressive, May, 1985, p. 4; August, 1989, Saul Landau, review of Destructive Generation, pp. 37-38.
Publishers Weekly, December 30, 1996, p. 49; May 5, 1997, p. 188; October 25, 1999, review of Hating Whitey, p. 57; August 14, 2000, review of The Art of Political War, p. 340.
Reason, March, 1997, Steven Hayward, review of Radical Son, pp. 62-63.
Time, July 25, 1994, p. 67; November 22, 1999, review of Hating Whitey, p. 101.
Times Literary Supplement, September 9, 1965, p. 773.
Wall Street Journal, August 13, 1996, p. A14; February 3, 1997, p. A12.
Washington Monthly, May, 1989, p. 44.
Washington Post Book World, June 5, 1994, p. 3; February 9, 1997, p. 3.
Whole Earth Review, fall, 1989, p. 102.*