Gertrude Himmelfarb

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Person.png Gertrude Himmelfarb   Amazon C-SPAN NNDB PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(historian, neoconservative)
Gertrude Himmelfarb.jpg
BornGertrude Himmelfarb
8 August 1922
Brooklyn, New York
Died30 December 2019 (Age 97)
Alma materBrooklyn College, University of Chicago, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Girton College
Children • William Kristol
• Elizabeth Nelson
SpouseIrving Kristol

Gertrude Himmelfarb was an American neoconservative historian and cultural critic. She is the wife of neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol, mother of William Kristol, the cofounder of Project for the New American Century and sister to the late Milton Himmelfarb of the American Jewish Committee. She is now Professor Emeritus of the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She married Irving Kristol in 1942, but has always written as an academic under her unmarried name. [1]


In a review of Himmelfarb’s 1999 book One Nation, Two Cultures,’s Charles Taylor wrote,

The intellect on display here is about the caliber of the village biddy who sticks her blue nose into everyone else's business, offering opinions nobody asked for about how everybody else should live. Like ‘99 Bottles of Beer,’ the tune Himmelfarb sings throughout One Nation, Two Cultures is repetitive and seemingly endless, and you always know exactly what's coming next. It's that golden oldie, top of the pops on the conservative hit parade for the umpteenth era in a row, baby! – ‘America Is Going to Hell in a Handbasket (And It's All the Fault of the '60s).’ What did conservatives do before they had the '60s to blame? It's been such a boon to them that, secretly at least, they must be grateful for it (the way liberals have always been grateful for Nixon). When Himmelfarb writes, ‘Whatever cultural revolution America experienced in the 1920s or before, it was a faint foreshadow of what was to follow,’ she's using a Saturday-afternoon serial technique, keeping us hooked before unveiling the dastardly scheme that Ming the Merciless has in store. She doesn't take long to get to the wicked plot: the destruction of the Victorian virtues of ‘work, thrift, temperance, fidelity, self-reliance, self-discipline, cleanliness, godliness’ (in her view, America's traditional strengths) by the Kryptonite of the '60s. [2]



  • Lord Acton: A Study of Conscience and Politics (1952)
  • Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (1959)
  • Victorian Minds (1968)
  • On Liberty and Liberalism: The Case of John Stuart Mill (1974)
  • The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age (1984)
  • Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians (1986)
  • The New History and the Old (1987)
  • Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians (1991)
  • On Looking into the Abyss: Untimely Thoughts on Culture and Society (1994)
  • The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values (1995)
  • One Nation, Two Cultures: A Searching Examination of American Society in the Aftermath of Our Cultural Revolution (2001)
  • The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments (2004)
  • The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling (2006)


  1. 'Profile: Gertrude Himmelfarb', Right Web, accessed 1 April, 2009.
  2. Charles Taylor, “Himmelfarb vs. the ‘60s,”, 9 February, 2000.