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David Horowitz

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David Horowitz

David Joel Horowitz (born January 10, 1939) is an American conservative writer. He is a founder and current president of the think tank the Students for Academic Freedom, whose self-stated goal is combating what it calls the "leftist indoctrination" in academia.[1]

Horowitz was raised by parents who were members of the Communist Party USA. Between 1956 and 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left before rejecting leftism completely. Horowitz has recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospectives, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.


Horowitz was born to a secular Jewish family in Forest Hills, New York City. His parents, Phil and Blanche Horowitz, were high school teachers. Phil taught English and Blanche taught stenography.[2] Horowitz majored in English and received a BA from Columbia University in 1959 and a master's degree in English literature at University of California, Berkeley.

Phil and Blanche Horowitz were long-standing members of the American Communist Party and avid supporters of Joseph Stalin.[3][4]

According to Horowitz,
"Underneath the ordinary surfaces of their lives, my parents and their friends thought of themselves as secret agents. The mission they had undertaken, and about which they could not speak freely except with each other, was not just an idea to them. It was more important to their sense of themselves than anything else they did. Nor were its tasks of a kind they could attend or ignore, depending on their moods. They were more like the obligations of a religious faith. Except that their faith was secular, and the millennium they awaited was being instituted, at that moment, in the very country that had become America's enemy. It was this fact that made their ordinary lives precarious and their secrecy necessary. If they lived under a cloud of suspicion, it was the result of more than just their political passions. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima had created a terror in the minds of ordinary people. Newspapers reported on American spy rings working to steal atomic secrets for the Soviet state. When people read these stories, they inevitably thought of progressives like us. And so did we ourselves. Even if we never encountered a Soviet agent or engaged in a single illegal act, each of us knew that our commitment to socialism implied the obligation to commit treason, too."[5]

After the death of Stalin in 1953, Phil Horowitz, commenting on how the numerous official titles held by Stalin had to be divided among his successors, told his son, "You see what a genius Stalin was. It took five men to replace him."[6]

Career in the New Left

The Horowitz family broke with the American Communist Party after the publication of Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech in 1956. According to Horowitz,
"The publication of the Khrushchev Report was probably the greatest blow struck against the Soviet Empire during the Cold War. When my parents and their friends opened the morning Times and read its text, their world collapsed – and along with it their will to struggle. If the document was true, almost everything they had said and believed was false. Their secret mission had led them into waters so deep that its tide had overwhelmed them, taking with it the very meaning of their lives."[7]

In the early 1960s, Horowitz lived in London as an employee of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.[8][9] He regarded himself as a serious Marxist intellectual. In 1966, Ralph Schoenman persuaded Bertrand Russell to convene a war crimes tribunal to judge American involvement in the Vietnam War.[10] Horowitz developed serious reservations about the process when the tribunal's judges, who included Isaac Deutscher, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stokely Carmichael, Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, and Vladimir Dedijer, degenerated into a feuding rabble.[11] See Russell Tribunal.

While in London, Horowitz was a close friend of Deutscher, of whom he published a biography in 1971.[12][13] He also wrote The Free World Colossus: A Critique of American Foreign Policy in the Cold War.

In January 1968, Horowitz returned to the United States and became co-editor of the New Left magazine, Ramparts.[9]

During the early 1970s, Horowitz developed a close friendship with Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton. In Horowitz's subsequent writings, Newton is depicted as equal parts gangster, terrorist, intellectual, and media celebrity.[9]

As part of their work together, Horowitz helped raised money for Newton and assisted with the running of a school for the children of Party members. He further recommended that Newton hire a bookkeeper, Betty Van Patter, who was then working for Ramparts. In December 1974, Van Patter's murdered body was found floating in San Francisco Harbor.[9][14] Horowitz, who was certain that the Panthers were responsible, had his suspicions confirmed by several Party members. He has cited that experience as the catalyst which led him to reject Marxism completely.

Activism on the right

For nearly a decade, Horowitz's rejection of Marx remained a private matter. In the spring of 1985, however, Horowitz and longtime collaborator Peter Collier wrote an article for The Washington Post entitled "Goodbye to All That". The article explained their change of views and recent decision to vote for President Ronald Reagan.[15] In 1986 he published "Why I Am No Longer a Leftist" in the Village Voice.[16] Horowitz has not been completely welcomed by the conservative right. Jay Nordlinger says conservatives are uneasy with Horowitz's activism and confrontational style.[17]

In 1987, Horowitz co-hosted a "Second Thoughts Conference" in Washington, D.C., described by Sidney Blumenthal in The Washington Post as his "coming out" as a social conservative. According to attendee Alexander Cockburn, Horowitz related how his Stalinist parents had not permitted him or his sister to watch Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies. Instead, they were required to watch propaganda films from the Soviet Union.[18]

In May 1989, Horowitz, Ronald Radosh, and Peter Collier travelled to Poland for a conference in Kraków calling for the end of Communism.[19] After marching with Polish dissidents in an anti-regime protest, Horowitz declared,
"For myself, my family tradition of socialist dreams is over. Socialism is no longer a dream of a revolutionary future. It is only a nightmare of the past. But for you, the nightmare is not a dream. It is a reality that is still happening. My dream for the people of socialist Poland is that someday you will wake up from your nightmare and be free."[20]
In 1992, Horowitz and Collier founded Heterodoxy magazine. The magazine focused on exposing excessive political correctness on American college and university campuses. About the decision, Horowitz has stated,
"As an undergraduate at Columbia in the McCarthy Fifties, I had written papers from a Marxist point of view, but had never been graded politically by my anti-communist professors. Nor had I ever felt that the lectures I attended were veiled indoctrinations. As a student, I was invariably presented with both sides of an argument. When I visited university campuses now, however, the contrast was striking. Courses were often baldly ideological. Many left-wing professors gave one-sided presentations of subjects, expecting their views to be parroted on papers and exams. Students were graded politically, and frequently intimidated from expressing their own perspectives. The atmosphere of political terror was far greater than anything which I had experienced, as a Marxist, in the McCarthy era. Although there was no statistical evidence to prove it, I would estimate that more academic careers had been aborted for political reasons during those post-Sixties decades than during the entire Communist 'witch hunt' of the McCarthy period. The reason for the lack of statistics was the same as for the effectiveness of the purge. Unlike the McCarthyites, whose base was government, the left-wing witch-hunters were inside the academy, where they could operate in secrecy and to far greater effect."[21]

Horowitz has also opposed reparations for slavery as something inherently racist against blacks. He argues that applying labels like "descendents of slaves" to blacks would damage their self-esteem and segregate them from mainstream society.[22] Horowitz purchased, or attempted to purchase, advertising space in school publications in order to publicize his opinion that African Americans are not entitled to reparations for Slavery in the United States. Many of these offers were refused and, at some schools, papers which carried the ads were stolen or destroyed.[22][23][24]

While he supported the interventionist foreign policy associated with the Bush Doctrine, Horowitz opposed American intervention in the Kosovo War, arguing that it was unnecessary and harmful to U.S. interests.[25][26] He has recently been critical of libertarian anti-war views.[27][28]

In 2004, Horowitz launched Discover the Networks, a conservative watchdog project that monitors funding for, and various ties among, leftists and progressive causes.[1] In his 2004 book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, Horowitz contends that leftists support, intentionally or not, Islamist terrorism, and thus require ongoing scrutiny.

In two books, Horowitz accused Dana L. Cloud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin, as an “anti-American radical" who "routinely repeats the propaganda of the Saddam regime" and, along with all of the 99 other professors in his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, Horowitz accuses her of the "explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom." (pp. 93, 377)

He felt his claim was substantiated when Cloud stated after 9/11 that: "the United States military has, in recent years, been the most effective and constant killer of civilians around the world."

Cloud replied in Inside Higher Ed that her experience demonstrates that Horowitz does real damage to professors' lives—and that he needs to be viewed as such, not just as a political opponent.

Horowitz's attacks have been significant. People who read the book or his Web site regularly send letters to university officials asking for her to be fired. Personally, she has received—mostly via e-mail—"physical threats, threats of removing my daughter from my custody, threats of sexual assaults, horrible disgusting gendered things," she said. That Horowitz doesn't send these isn't the point, she said. "He builds a climate and culture that emboldens people," and as a result, shouldn't be seen as a defender of academic freedom, but as its enemy. [29]

After discussion, the National Communication Association chose not to grant Horowitz a spot as a panelist at its national conference in 2008, even after he agreed to forego the $7,000 speaking fee he had requested.

Horowitz replied, "The fact that no academic group has had the balls to invite me says a lot about the ability of academic associations to discuss important issues if a political minority wants to censor them."[29] An association official said the decision was based in part on Horowitz's request to be provided with a stipend for $500 to hire a personal bodyguard. Association officials decided that having a bodyguard present "communicates the expectation of confrontation and violence."[29]

While Horowitz was on the Riz Khan television show with Hussein Ibish, he was reported by Ibish to have published on his Frontpage Mag website: Arabs do nothing on impulse, Muslims have no allegiance to their countries, [and] their only allegiance is to Islam, that's what they have been taught since birth that's all they know, Muslims have no borders"[30][31]

In the same television program, Horowitz claimed that the Prophet Muhammad called for the “extermination of Jews,”.[31][32] Horowitz also states that he supports the “creation of a Palestinian State in Jordan" in opposition to the prevailing "two state" model.[31][33]

Horowitz appeared in Occupy Unmasked, a documentary film that contends that the Occupy Wall Street movement is sinister, violent, and organized with the purpose of destroying the American government.[34][35][36]

Academic Bill of Rights

The issue of alleged political abuse by universities is currently Horowitz's main focus. He, Eli Lehrer, and Andrew Jones published a pamphlet, "Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities" (2004), in which they find the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at 32 schools to be more than 10 to 1.[44]

Horowitz's book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006), criticizes individual professors for their professorial conduct. Horowitz accuses these professors of engaging in indoctrination rather than a disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Horowitz states that his campaign for academic freedom is ideologically neutral.[61]

Horowitz and others promote his Academic Bill of Rights (ABR), an eight-point guide that seeks to eliminate political bias in university hiring and grading. Horowitz says that bias in universities amounts to indoctrination, and charges that conservatives and particularly Republicans are systematically excluded from faculties, citing statistical studies on faculty party affiliation.[62] Critics of the proposed policy, such as Stanley Fish, have argued that "academic diversity", as Horowitz describes it, is not a legitimate academic value, and that no endorsement of "diversity" can be absolute.[65]

In 2004 a version of the ABR was adopted by the Georgia General Assembly on a 41–5 vote.[66][67]

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives created a special legislative committee to investigate the state of academic freedom and whether students who hold unpopular views need more protection. In November 2006 it reported that it couldn't find evidence of problems with students' rights.[68][69][70][71][72][73]

Personal life

Horowitz has been married four times. He married his first wife, Elissa Krauthamer, in a Yonkers, New York synagogue on 14 June 1959.[74] Elissa is the mother of their four children, Jonathan Daniel, Benjamin Horowitz, Anne Pilat, and Sarah Rose Horowitz, who died in March 2008 at age 44 from Turner syndrome-related heart complications.[75][76] She is the subject of Horowitz's 2009 book, A Cracking of the Heart.[76]

Horowitz's daughter, Sarah, was a human rights activist who cooked for the homeless, stood vigil at San Quentin on nights when the state of California executed prisoners, worked with autistic children in public schools, and with the American Jewish World Service, helped rebuild homes in El Salvador after a hurricane and traveled to India to oppose child labor.[77] In a review of Horowitz's paean[76] to Sarah, in which Horowitz explores their estrangement and reconciliation, FrontPage magazine associate editor David Swindle wrote that she fused "the painful lessons of her father's life with a mystical Judaism to complete the task he never could: showing how the Left could save itself from self-destruction."[78]

Horowitz's son Ben Horowitz is a technology entrepreneur and investor (the co-founder, along with Marc Andreessen, of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz).

After ending his first marriage, Horowitz married Sam Moorman, whom he also later divorced. On 24 June 1990, Horowitz married Shay Marlowe in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony conducted at the Pacific Jewish Center by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.[79] After the marriage with Marlowe also ended in divorce, Horowitz married April Mullvain Horowitz, his present wife.[80][81] They live in Los Angeles County.

Controversy and criticism


Some stories Horowitz has used as evidence that U.S. colleges and universities are bastions of liberal indoctrination have been disputed.[82] For example, Horowitz alleged that a war criminal.[83][84] A spokeswoman for the university said that the test question was not as described by Horowitz and that there were nonpolitical reasons for the grade, which was not an F.[85] Horowitz identified the professor in this story[86] as Robert Dunkley, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Northern Colorado. Dunkley said Horowitz made him an example of "liberal bias" in academia and yet, "Dunkley said that he comes from a Republican family, is a registered Republican and considers himself politically independent, taking pride in never having voted a straight party ticket," Inside Higher Ed reported.[86]

In another instance, Horowitz stated that a Pennsylvania State University biology professor showed his students the film Fahrenheit 9/11 just before the 2004 election in an attempt to influence their votes.[87][88] Pressed by Inside Higher Ed, Horowitz reversed himself and retracted the story.[89]

Horowitz has also come under fire for material in his books, particularly The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, by noted scholars such as Columbia University Professor Todd Gitlin.[90] The group Free Exchange on Campus issued a 50-page report in May 2006 in which they take issue with many of Horowitz's assertions in the book and describe what they see as factual errors, unsubstantiated assertions, and quotations which appear to be either misquoted or taken out of context.[91][92][93]

Allegations of racism

Chip Berlet, writing for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), identified Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture as one of 17 "right-wing foundations and think tanks support[ing] efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable." Berlet accused Horowitz of blaming slavery on "black Africans … abetted by dark-skinned Arabs" and of "attack[ing] minority 'demands for special treatment' as 'only necessary because some blacks can't seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others,' rejecting the idea that they could be the victims of lingering racism."[94] Responding with an open letter to Morris Dees, president of the SPLC, Horowitz opens with the claim that Berlet's report was "so tendentious, so filled with transparent misrepresentations and smears that if "[he continues] to post the report [he] will create for [the] Southern Poverty Law Center a well-earned reputation as a hate group itself." He claims the intention of "[this reminder] that the slaves transported to America were bought from African and Arab slavers" was a response to demands that only whites pay blacks reparations, and he never held Africans and Arabs solely responsible for slavery. He concludes that the accusation of racism was a deliberate and calculated lie and requests that the report be removed.[95] The SPLC refused Horowitz's request,[98] and subsequent critical pieces on Berlet and the SPLC have been featured on Horowitz's website and personal blog.[99][101]

Bradley Foundation. This foundation has also financed The Bell Curve, a controversial book about the Heritability of IQ which proposed a correlation between ethnicity and intelligence.[102]

In 2008, while speaking at UCSB, Horowitz stated that the keffiyah, the traditional Arab head covering made famous by PLO leader Yasser Arafat, is a symbol of terrorism. In response, UCSB professor Walid Afifi accused Horowitz of "preaching hate" and smearing Arab culture.[104]

Activism against Islamic organizations

On April 2008, the 'David Horowitz Freedom Center' ran an advertisement in the [105] The MSA's faculty advisor said the group had "been involved in interfaith activities with Jewish student groups, and they've been involved in charity work for national disaster relief."[104]

Around the same time Horowitz also ran the ad in The GW Hatchet, claiming the MSA was a radical group. Jake Sherman, the newspaper's editor in chief, said claims the MSA was radical were "ludicrous", and promised to review his newspaper's editorial policies.[107]

In the Columbia Spectator newspaper, Horowitz said that, according to public opinion polls, "between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews and other Muslims."[108]

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst Horowitz made numerous comparisons of Islamists to Nazis: "Islamists are worse than the Nazis, because even the Nazis did not tell the world that they want to exterminate the Jews." Horowitz also said "there are good Muslims and bad Muslims just like there were good Germans and bad Germans" and "The Palestinians are Nazis. Every one of their elected officials are terrorists."[110]

Horowitz has also directed campaigns such as "Islamofascism Awareness Week", which brought leading critics of radical Islam to more than a hundred college campuses in October 2007.[111] During a speech at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Horowitz accused students wearing green in support of the school's Muslim Student Association of supporting Hamas, and students wearing Arab Keffiyehs of honoring Yassir Arafat and terrorism.[113] As a speaker he has met with intense hostility including audience members who expressed genocidal sentiments towards Horowitz as a Jew.[115][117][120]

On an [121]

In 2011, he was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of 10 people in the United States' "Anti-Muslim Inner Circle."[122]


Frontpage Magazine published Ron Radosh's critical review of Diana West's book American Betrayal. Horowitz provided the title "McCarthy On Steroids"[123] The publication of the review divided conservatives with John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, scholars of Soviet espionage, coming to the defense of Horowitz and Radosh[125] while Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident, rejected Radosh's criticisms and condemned the attempt to portray West as a deluded and historically inept conspiracy-monger.[126] Horowitz responded to his critics and defended the publication.[127]

The late Lawrence Auster accused Horowitz of expelling him from Frontpage Magazine for making racist statements.[130][141]

Books and other publications

  • Student: The Political Activities of the Berkeley Students (New York: Ballantine Books, 1962)
  • Marx and Modern Economics, edited, (1968)
  • Corporations and the Cold War (editor) (New York: Monthly Review, 1969)
  • Sinews of Empire Ramparts, October 1969, pp. 32–42
  • Empire and Revolution: A Radical Interpretation of Contemporary History (1969) ISBN 0-394-70856-3
  • Corporations and the Cold War, edited, and with introduction (1970) ISBN 0-85345-160-5
  • The Free World Colossus: A Critique of American Foreign Policy in the Cold War (1971) ISBN 0-8090-0107-1
  • The First Frontier: The Indian Wars and America's Origins, 1607–1776 (1978) ISBN 0-671-22534-0
  • Second Thoughts: Former Radicals Look Back at the Sixties, ed. by Peter Collier and David Horowitz (Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 1989) ISBN 0-8191-7148-4
  • Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the '60s, by Peter Collier and David Horowitz (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1989) ISBN 0-671-66752-1
  • Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (New York: The Free Press, 1997) autobiography ISBN 0-684-82793-X
  • The Race Card: White Guilt, Black Resentment, and the Assault on Truth and Justice (Prima Lifestyles, 1997) ISBN 0-7615-0942-9
  • Hating Whitey: and Other Progressive Causes (Spence Publishing, 1999) ISBN 1-890626-21-X
  • The Politics of Bad Faith: The Radical Assault on America’s Future (Free Press, 2000) ISBN 0-684-85679-4
  • The Art of Political War And Other Radical Pursuits (Spence Publishing, 2000) ISBN 1-890626-28-7
  • How to Beat the Democrats and Other Subversive Ideas (Spence Publishing, 2002) ISBN 1-890626-41-4
  • Uncivil Wars: The Controversy Over Reparations For Slavery (2002) ISBN 1-893554-44-9
  • Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey (Spence Publishing, 2003) ISBN 1-890626-51-1
  • Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Regnery Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-89526-076-X
  • The Anti-Chomsky Reader with Peter Collier (Encounter Books, 2004) ISBN 1-893554-97-X
  • The End of Time (2005) ISBN 1-59403-080-4
  • The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery Publishing, 2006) ISBN 0-89526-003-4
  • Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party (Thomas Nelson Books, 2007) ISBN 1-59555-103-4
  • Indoctrination U:The Left's War Against Academic Freedom (Encounter Books, 2007) ISBN 1-59403-190-8
  • Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream (with John Perazzo) (2013) ISBN 978-1-88644-293-1


(co-authored with Peter Collier)

  • The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976) ISBN 0-03-008371-0
  • The Kennedys: An American Drama (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1985) ISBN 0-671-44793-9
  • The Fords: An American Epic (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1987) ISBN 0-671-66951-6
  • The Roosevelts: An American Saga (1994)


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  41. ^ Seccombe, Mike. “Cost of Living Found Shockingly High Here.”\ Vineyard Gazette Online.
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  54. ^ Annals of the American Unitarian Pulpit, William Buell Sprague, R. Carter & Brothers, New York, 1865
  55. ^ One of the first chaplains in the Continental Army, Rev. Thaxter was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. On June 17, 1835, Thaxter returned to the battleground and officiated as chaplain at ceremonies laying the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill Monument
  56. ^ Memorials of Elder John White, One of the First Settlers of Hartford, Conn., Allyn S. Kellogg, Printed by Case, Lockwood and Company, Hartford, Conn., 1860
  57. ^ Portrait of Leavitt Thaxter, Indian Converts Collection, Reed Digital Collections
  58. ^ Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, Printed by Dutton and Wentworth, Boston, Mass., 1845
  59. ^ History of Martha's Vineyard, Part First, Henry Franklin Norton, Published by Robert Emmett Pyne, 1923
  60. ^ Martha's Vinyard, Summer Resort After 100 Years, Henry Beetle Hough, Page 274, Published by Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1966
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  62. ^ Tierney, John (11 October 2005). "Where Cronies Dwell". New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2007. 
  63. ^ Tierney, John (11 October 2005). "Where Cronies Dwell". New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2007. 
  64. ^ Bas van Elburg, Possible Origins of Certain Nonstandard Verb Forms in the Dialect of Tristan Da Cunha. 21 December 2000.
  65. ^ . April 2012. 
  66. ^ "What's Not To Like About The Academic Bill of Rights". Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
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  71. ^ Horowitz, David (21 November 2006). "What We're Up Against—The Lying Pennsylvania Press". Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
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  77. ^ "at-44/ Teacher, writer, human rights activist dies unexpectedly at 44". 10 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  78. ^ "Those Who Despise the Radical Son Will Fall in Love With his Progressive Daughter" Rightwing News 31 December 2009
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Further reading

  • Marthas Vineyard. 
  • Marc H. Ellis (1997), Unholy alliance: religion and atrocity in our time Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers. ISBN 0-8006-3080-7.
  • Henry Giroux (2006), America on the Edge New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-7159-5.

External links

  • David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog
  • Horowitz Freedom Center
  • Bibliography Of Published Works
  • Students for Academic Freedom – promotional website for Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights"
  • David Horowitz TV – contains numerous video podcasts of Horowitz appearances and sponsored events.
  • , April 13, 1997.Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey interview with Horowitz on Booknotes
  • interview with Horowitz, October 7, 2007In Depth
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