When Roots of Radicalism first appeared. Nathan Glazer noted "this is a major work on the relationship between radical politics and psychological development." He went on to predict "no one will be able to write about the left and radicalism without taking it into account." Now finally available in a paperback edition, with a new introduction, the reader can evaluate just how prescient the authors are in their review of the student radical movement. Replete with interviews of radical activists, their provocative book paints a disturbing picture.
The book raises critical questions about much previous social science research and ultimately about the reason an entire generation of Americans was so infatuated with the radical mystique. Robert A. Nisbet called the book "an extraordinarily skilled fusion of historical and psychological approaches to one of the most explosive decades in American social history." Robert E. Lane added "it will be prudent to read Rothman and Lichter along with our well worn copies of Keniston and Fromm." Writing in Political Psychology, Dan E. Thomas argued "the [book] is arguably the most important and definitely the most provocative book in the field of personality and politics to have appeared in the past several years." Recently, in Forbes. Peter Brimelow referred to Roots of Radicalism as "Rothman's main achievement as a political scientist…his definitive study of the 1960s New Left."
In the new introduction, the authors review the initial reception of Roots of Radicalism and its subsequent treatment. They also review the major literature on the causes, course, and consequences of the student movement of the 1960s which has appeared since the publication of the book. Finally, they update their own analysis.