cover image Robert Maynard Hutchins: A Memoir

Robert Maynard Hutchins: A Memoir

Milton Mayer. University of California Press, $45 (546pp) ISBN 978-0-520-07091-2

An outspoken American educator whose innovative ideas were enacted during his 1929-1951 tenure at the University of Chicago as president and chancellor, Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899-1977) lobbied increasingly for intellectual inquiry and the preservation of scholarly traditions. Mayer ( If Men Were Angels ), who died in 1986, was a friend and colleague of Hutchins. His well documented, affectionate and objective memoir (written mostly in the third person) outlines Hutchins's considerable achievements, including the introduction of the Great Books Program on campus and his fierce commitment to academic freedom. Mayer also details Hutchins's intemperate, seemingly pro-Hitler remarks before the outbreak of WW II, and the considerable neglect with which he treated his first wife and three children. Hicks is a retired English professor at the University of Massachusetts. Photos. (Apr.)