When Ideas Mattered: A Nathan Glazer Reader

Glazer, Nathan. Joseph Dorman and Leslie Lenkowsky, eds. When Ideas Mattered. New York: Transaction Publishers, 2016.

Sociologist Nathan Glazer’s remarkably long and productive career as a New York intellectual spans seven decades from the Great Depression era to the late twentieth century. A voracious intellect with a perpetual sense of curiosity, he defies easy labeling. When Ideas Mattered is a critical volume, but it also contains autobiographical essays Glazer has written over the years to explain the evolution of his own thought.

The book is organized into sections corresponding to Glazer’s wide ranging interests: ethnicity, race, social policy and urbanism, and architecture. He has written on the myth of the American melting pot, the nature of American communism, the perils and importance of affirmative action, and the limits of social policy. Because Glazer’s work has influenced succeeding generations of thinkers and scholars in a number of fields, the editors have included appraisals and assessments by several of these writers written especially for this volume.