Reconsidering Christopher Lasch

One of my summer goals is to read (or re-read) several of Christopher Lasch’s books, from The New Radicalism in America 1889-1963 (1965) to The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1994), as a prelude to reading Eric Miller’s new biography of Lasch, Hope in a Scattering Time. Reviews of Miller’s study have begun coming in over the transom. Andrew Bacevich warmly welcomes the book in the new issue of World Affairs, and Alan Wolfe reviewed it in a recent issue of The New Republic. Rochelle Gurstein, once a student of Lasch’s, takes issue with Wolfe’s piece, recommending Bacevich and Jackson Lears as better guides to Lasch’s thinking. (Lears’s 1995 consideration is not yet available online.) I would add two enjoyable, deeply thoughtful essays to Gurstein’s recommendations. One is the reminiscence Lasch’s University of Rochester colleague Robert Westbrook published in Reviews in American History in 1995, and the other is Louis Menand’s 1991 NYRB essay. Unfortunately both require subscriptions to read online, though Menand’s piece was reprinted in his 2002 collection American Studies (it begins on page 198). Also useful is the Christopher Lasch bibliography-in-progress, maintained until 2003 by Robert Cummings. UPDATE, 5/25: Former Lasch student Chris Lehmann reviews the biography in the summer issue of Bookforum.