C. Wright Mills: A Personal Memoir

C. Wright Mills: A Personal Memoir

I first met C. Wright Mills in 1941 or 1942, when he was a young assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland (at that time, at least, a singularly dismal-looking provincial school whose president was one “Curly” Byrd, a former football coach). I was about twenty-one, some five years his junior, and at the time I was either working the night shift in an aircraft factory or had recently left the factory to join the Merchant Marine; in either case, I was aware of what Mills was up to, from certain pieces that he was publishing, and we hit it off at once. He was living with his first wife and baby daughter in a coop development which he supported on principle but otherwise ignored completely, since he was absorbed day and night with other problems. He might have said the same of the baby, who crawled about at his feet—if indeed she was old enough to—while he explained, to my youthful astonishment, that she was still a vegetable and would only be worth bothering with some few years later…

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