From about 1920 to about 1950, Harold Laski was one of the best-known academic intellectuals in the English-speaking world. After Oxford and after two relatively obscure years at McGill University in Montreal, he came to Harvard in 1916, where he remained for four years. He might have remained for the rest of his career, for he dazzled the academic world of the East Coast and particularly of Harvard with his exceptional learning, his spoken and written fluency, his deference to his elders, and his delightfully pleasing personality. He won the admiration and affection of Felix Frankfurter (who discovered him), Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Louis Brandeis, and he stood very well with Roscoe Pound, Charles MacIlwain, and other great figures of the Harvard of that day. He was also greatly cherished by the first generation of the guiding spirits of The New Republic, which was founded in 1912.

It all ended in an uproar when...


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