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David Horowitz’s writing career spans more than forty years and at least as many books. The major portion of his work deals with political and education subjects from a conservative vantage, establishing Horowitz’s reputation as one of the most notable and controversial figures in the arena of public commentary. His impact on current intellectual thought and discourse has been increasingly consolidated over the last decade and a half or so, from the 1997 Radical Son to the 2009 One-Party Classroom. Commanding respect as well as inviting censure, his name is now indelibly associated with contemporary cultural critique and political analysis at the cutting edge of social relevance.
With the publication of The End of Time in 2005 and especially A Cracking of the Heart, a memoir of the life and death of his daughter Sarah, in 2009, Horowitz’s perspective begins to vary from the political to the personal. The old feminist cliché that “the personal is political,” to cite Carol Hanisch’s well-known 1969 essay, is reversed in Horowitz’s case. For him, the political is personal and has always been so, as earlier intimated in Radical Son. And not only is the political personal, but the personal is exceedingly personal, for Horowitz writes not only from the standpoint of an erudite scholar immersed in his discipline, but also from his own firsthand, vivid, and deeply felt experience.
There is often a gaping divorce in academic and political writing between the theoretical and the empirical. Cloistered academics and the general run of media pundits tend to be insulated from the graphic immediacy of real life — a privileged remoteness from what we might call unprocessed experience — which allows them to float their often vapid exhalations with aerial insouciance. The opposite is the case here. Horowitz does not merely sit behind a writing desk, deliver copy, or orate to a classroom. He is also in the trenches, receiving threats to his personal safety as he travels about the speaking circuit accompanied by bodyguards. He is in the thick of it. There is a profound, almost visceral involvement with every one of the issues Horowitz treats, be it “the politics of bad faith,” the corrupt and doctrinaire Academy, the American presidency, the theory and practice of economic subversion, the drama of Israel under attack, or, more recently, his close family. It is from his analytical fidelity to his own passional experience that Horowitz derives his immense authority.
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