For intellectual historian Louis Menand, the Cold War gave rise to prospects and paradoxes in America, and Art was given status through essential criticism.
Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.
As a history of ideas, this work is especially good at mapping the Vienna Circle's fascinating afterlife in the English-speaking countries where many prominent thinkers landed and flourished in the 20th century.
There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.