In 1973, Wilson Carey McWilliams (1933–2005) published The Idea of Fraternity in America, a groundbreaking book that argued for an alternative to America's dominant philosophy of liberalism. This alternative tradition emphasized that community and fraternal bonds were as vital to the process of maintaining political liberty as was individual liberty. McWilliams expanded on this idea throughout his prolific career as a teacher, writer, and activist, promoting a unique definition of American democracy. In The Democratic Soul: A Wilson Carey McWilliams Reader, editors Patrick J. Deneen and Susan J. McWilliams, daughter of the famed intellectual, have assembled key essays, articles, reviews, and lectures that trace McWilliams's evolution as a scholar and explain his often controversial views on education, religion, and literature. The book also showcases his thoughts and opinions on prominent twentieth-century figures such as George Orwell and Leo Strauss. The first comprehensive volume of Wilson Carey McWilliams' collected writings, The Democratic Soul will be welcomed by scholars of political science and American political thought as a long-overdue contribution to the field.
"In addition to his work on the Founding, McWilliams was committed to writing and teaching about contemporary politics. No one was better at presenting to students the entirety of American political thought, as a single phenomenon linking past and present, a long story with a known beginning but an unknown end. These qualities come through very clearly in this collection of his essays."—Dennis Hale, professor of political science, Boston College
"A treasury of thoughts and arguments from articles of the late Carey McWilliams. All are still timely, still relevant to American politics today. Political philosophy as he practiced it never goes out of style. How his keen eye and sturdy wisdom are missed!"—Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University
"Wilson Carey McWilliams was a seer, a small d-democrat, an artist who valued eloquent prose, and one of his era's shrewdest students of American politics. May this collection of some of his very best work introduce him to a new generation eager for a vision that is at once progressive, communitarian and deeply grounded in the realities of American history. McWiliams brought not only deep knowledge to his work, but also wisdom, compassion and a stubborn prophet's sense of what is right, what is just, and what is good."—E.J. Dionne, author of Why Americans Hate Politics
"Collect[s] many of his most significant pieces, presenting both a nuanced picture of the underpinnings of our political life and an introduction to his thought."—First Things