Mills' Major Works:

Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills (translators and editors).  1946 [1958] From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology.  New York: Galaxy Books.

From the Publisher :
This book introduces the reader tot he work of the greatest German sociologist and one who is a key figure in the development of present-day sociological thought in this country.  Weber's thought forms part of our heritage of political science, sociology, history, philosophy, and economics, as well as of art, religion, and education.  The present selection of writings opens with a comprehensive biographical introductory essay on Weber's life and work.  The introduction is followed by four sections: Science and Politics, Power, Religion, and Social Structures.  Each section contains other essays in their entirety or extensive excerpts.

"...the writings selected are representative of a wide range of the authors; exceedingly versatile and comprehensive studies."
--Talcott Parsons, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

" important contribution to an important theme of modern intellectual development.... The student of Max Weber will appreciate the tremendous effort required in the authors' attempt to transpose the German intellectual's involved ideas and sentences that are gothic castles" into readable English prose and still remain faithful to the original meaning.  This rare accomplishment is due to ideal teamwork.'
--Sigmund Neumann, The Yale Review

Mills, C. Wright. 1948 [2001] The New Men of Power: America's Labor Leaders. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.

From the Publisher :
"The New Men of Power is a brilliant, original, and provocative work, genuinely democratic and boldly radical in its character...I have not read for a long time any book which in its main bearings casts more valuable light on the tensions of American society or which is more stimulating and fruitful in its challenges to the reader."
--Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

"C. Wright Mills has written a book in total opposition to such current inclinations as quietism, ideal-community building, advocacy of 'preventive' atomic war, a truce with the right becasue of fear of Stalinism....We owe him a considerable debt of gratitude for having tried, in a time of depressed silence, to reopen a discussion of politics."
--Irving Howe, Partisan Review

Mills, C. Wright. 1951 [1956] White Collar: The American Middle Classes.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

From the Publisher :
Now a standard on the subject of the new middle class in 20th century America originating from elements of both the newer lower and upper classes.  This book about the new middle classes in twentieth century U.S.A. was hailed on its publication in 1951 as 'a brilliant and illuminating book, ' in the years since its first appearance it has become a classic in the field and regularly finds new readers.

As Horace M. Kallen wrote in The New York Times, it is 'a book that persons of every level of the white collar pyramid should read and ponder.  It will alert them to their condition for their better salvation.'

After reading this clinical account of the white collar world, now so central to the tang and feel of life in this country, Sylvia Porter said in the New York Post: 'One of the most painfully thought-provoking books I've read in years.  But only a naive Pollyanna would deny there's a lot of truth to it, enough to force a stop, look, listen.'

Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills.  1953 [1964] Character and Social Structure: the Psychology of Social Institutions. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

From the Publisher :
Character and Social Structure uses the dual perspectives of biology and social psychology to examine man's institutional structures, his acquired attitudes, and the interaction of the individual and society.  In a brilliant and bold synthesis of much hitherto scattered data, the authors give new meaning to the continuing debate over the relative importance of heredity and environment. 

"This book is a meeting of disciplines, a historically oriented study of human institutions--and human beings--with the purpose of trying to understand human motivations and important addition to contemporary American social psychology."
--San Francisco Chronicle

Mills, C. Wright. 1956 [1970] The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press.

From the Publisher :
First published in 1956, The Power Elite stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism. C. Wright Mills examines and critiques the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, and political elite. The Power Elite can be read as a good account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written, but its underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory continues to matter very much today. 

What The Power Elite informed readers of in 1956 was how much the organization of power in America had changed during their lifetimes, and Alan Wolfe's astute afterward to this new edition brings us up to date, illustrating how much more has changed since then. Wolfe sorts out what is helpful in Mills book and which of his predictions have not come to bear, laying out the radical changes in American capitalism, from intense global competition and the collapse of communism to rapid technological transformations and ever changing consumer tastes. The Power Elite has stimulated generations of readers to think about the kind of society they have and the kind of society they might want, and deserves to be read by every new generation. 

In this fascinating and controversial study of the organization of our society, Mr. Mills depicts the style of life of the men and women at the pinnacles of fame and power and fortune in America today.  Celebrities and the Big Rich, Admirals and General, Politicians and Corporation Executives are examined--as well as the nature of the mass society, of which these higher circles now constitute the elite.  The ideas and conclusions this book presents are so provocative that even those who disagree with its thesis will find it absorbing.

"Infuriating...yet cannot be lightly or finally dismissed....I grant him my grudging admiration--he has made me change my mind about a few things and to realize my ignorance of many others, and that is a formidable operation."
--Paul Pickrel, Harper's Magazine

"There uncomfortable degree of truth in Mills' attack...This book is so carefully documented, it deals with such real problems, it hits so many sore spots that it deserves to be read."
--A.A. Berle, Jr., The New York Times Book Review

Mills, C. Wright  1958The Causes of World War Three.  London: Secker & Warburg.

From the Publisher :
The Americans and Russians are told every day that preparation for war is the sole solution to the tensions between their countries.  Spokesmen for each side call this policy "realism."  C. Wright Mills calls it "crackpot realism."  In this book, a bold and angry statement of the central problem of our time, the author of  The Power Elite and White Collar attacks the official commitment to an armed emergency which has no foreseeable end except disaster, and he brilliatly sets forth constructive alternatives.

Mr. Mills doesn't think there has to be a third world war.  He thinks there can be one if the drift and thrust of "the Power Elite" (who supplied the title of one of his earlier books) is not checked.

He is eloquent, fervid, at times difficult, never wasteful of words, and completely out of patience with "this idiots' race" between the United States and the U.S.S.R. which could conceivably wind up with the reviewer, the reader and the reviewed completely all right and all completely dead.

...if we don't like what is going on in the world, or everything that is being done even in our own country, even in the name of freedom, we should arise from out patented, self-adjusting, reclining easy chairs and say so.
--R. L. Duffus
New York Times

Underlying all of this short, fiery book written by a professor at staid Columbia, is the conviction that we can do something about another war.  We don't have to sit and take it.
--Chicago American

Mills uses more hard, common sense in describing the present situation than almost anyone else who has dealt with it.  Furthermore, his fury makes him entertaining.  You can read this small book in an hour or two and you will not have a dull minute.
--Gerald Johnson
Baltimore Sunday Sun

An angry attack on the theory of American policy makers that preparation for a nuclear war--a war of annihilation which no one can win--is dictated by "necessity."

Mills proposes a militant program to force the whole subject of defense policy out into open national debate.  He calls upon intellectuals, scientists and the clergy to develop and work to fulfill a program for peace; to speak out against the preparations and testings that threaten war; to break the power elite's "monopoly" and to fight for subordination of the "military mentality" to civilian authority.

It's a rough, tough, free-swinging book, by far the most militant of its kind to appear this year.  It will prove unpopular in some quarters--the author expects irate repercussions--but it's important, and worth close reading.
--Frank O'Neill
Cleveland News

Sociologist Mills has prepared a manifesto for intellectuals, a call to arms for those who are aware, and who care about awareness.  This is not the description and analysis of "White Collar" and "The Power Elite," this is instead bitter polemic written with one eye on the mushroom cloud overhead and an ear cocked toward the Geiger counter.
--San Francisco Chronicle

Both a depressant and a stimulant, the book deserves thoughtful reading and attention. 

Mills, C. Wright.  1959 [1976] The Sociological Imagination.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

From the Publisher :
C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues. 

"The critique is hard-hitting, cogent, clearly put, and at times brilliant....Wright Mills's views on how social science should be pursued are worth the attention of people in all social disciplines...."

"Professor Mills's vigorous and admirable proclamation...will, let us hope, start a debate on the functions of the sociologist and his denunciation will certainly prompt a good deal of heart-searching."
--W.J.H. Sprott, Nation

"This critique of hardening schools of analysis may turn out to be his most important book to date."
--Christian Century

"The Sociological Imagination is an important book.... It deserves to have an influence far outside the field of formal sociology."
--Donat O'Donnell, Manchester Guardian

"Performs an essential task in the service of intellectual lucidity and truth."
--American Scholar

"Professor Mills could hardly have rendered a better service than by writing this book, which is at once a challenge, a stimulus and incitement to students everywhere to look at sociology with a fresh and clearer vision.  What is more, it contains a practical guide, in the appendix on 'Intellectual Craftsmanship' to ways in which they may profitably go about their task."
--Times Literary Supplement

Mills, C. Wright.  1960 Listen, Yankee:  The Revolution in Cuba.  New York:  Ballantine Books.

From the Publisher :
C. Wright Mills is the author of two widely read and greatly respected books about the United States: White Collar and The Power Elite.

In August, 1960, he went to Cuba to find out for himself what Cubans were thinking, what their revolution meant.

Listen, Yankee is his report--written in the language of the Cuban revolutionary. I is an angry, outspoken book that says things you will not find in the U.S. press:

  • That the Cuban revolution has been misrepresented by ignorance and deliberate lies.
  • That Cuban resentment against the United States is based on real grievances.
  • That unless we wake up to our mistakes we will lose out in Latin America, Asia and Africa
  • That we must not permit our government to make the mistakes of ignorance and arrogance that cost us the respect of the hungry nations of the world.

Mills, C. Wright.  1962 The Marxists.  New York:  Dell Publishing Company.

From the Publisher :
""If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them.  If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift to the coming human hell.'  C. Wright Mills not only wrote those words but lived them.  A sociologist, social critic, humanist, and individualist, he brought his enormous intellect and energy to bear on the great issues of our time, confronting questions that few of his academic colleagues had the capacity or the courage to grapple with.  His influence went far beyond the academic circles which his work so often disturbed, for he wrote to be read...."
--Dan Wakefield, The Nation

"...this is a work all people of intelligence and critical judgment will single book now available covers the ground as well or as extensively...This book fulfilled Mills' own conception of the role of the man of ideas in the world of men.  Thus at the point of his death Mills achieved one of his major goals.  He was a rare man and this is a rare volume."
--Irving Louis Horowitz, The American Scholar

Mills, C. Wright.  1967 [1963] Power, Politics & People:  The Collected Essays of C. Wright Mills.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

From the Publisher :
"The extraordinary character of C. Wright Mills, as man and as sociologist, is established beyond dispute by this collection of essays."
--Melvin Tumin, American Sociological Review

"...both those who uncritically appreciate Mills and those who wish to continue their arguments with him will find this book extremely valuable.  Further, since the essays cover a large portion of the fertile writing period of this profound thinker, one gets a whole view of Mills not otherwise available."
--Floyd Hunter, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

"Both for his ideas and for the way in which he expressed them, Professor Mills thoroughly deserved to be considered the Thorstein Veblen of the mid-twentieth century."
--Harry Schwartz, New York Times

"His words are lively and indignant enough to provoke thinking...The thinking, if not the program, might just conceivably save us."
--August Hecksher

"...these selections are fine examples of the areas of Mills' interests; they reveal his clarity of thought and his precision of expression, two highly desirable virtues for a sociologist."
--Robert M. Barry, Commonweal

"Mills deserves a wide reading.   More people must face up to the central question of the relation of power to responsibility as preparatory to asking where we go from here."
--Robert Engler, New Republic

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