Norman Podhoretz is one of the preeminent intellectuals of the modern era: editor of Commentary for 35 years, master literary critic, piercing political thinker and polemicist, fearless defender of American and Jewish interests. After an early collection of essays, his first full-length book, Making It, was published in 1967—and it was an intellectual earthquake.
A boldly personal account of the meaning of success in America, Making It swept into its orbit a dazzling range of issues, personalities, and events from Jewish life to the vocation of writing, from the experience of military service to the state of the academy, from the fate of the nation and the pull of ethnic loyalties to the temptations of modern individualism. A sensation—and, to some critics, a scandal—in its time, Making It has endured as a masterpiece of modern literature and a landmark product of the disputatious “Family” of New York intellectuals who helped define our culture.
A newly released edition of Making It, with an introduction by the cultural critic Terry Teachout, offers an occasion to explore how American intellectual, cultural, and political life has changed over the past many decades. To do so, Norman Podhoretz and his son John joined a packed room at the Tikvah Center in New York City on April 5, 2017 for a historic, enlightening, and lively conversation.