Velvet Prisons explores critiques by Russell Jacoby of the foibles of the American academy, political life, and popular culture from the 1950s onward. This captivating interview examines the fate of public intellectuals, the neutering of radical inquiry in universities, the need for daring utopian thought, the scourge of bad academic writing, the inspiring legacy of C. Wright Mills, the blight of pop psychology, the free-wheeling impact of the 1960s, alternative media, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the 'planned obsolescence of thinking' in a proudly anti-intellectual society. All these issues connect to a larger question: what does the 'life of the mind' mean in contemporary America? It is a question that Jacoby, himself a stubbornly round peg in the square hole of modern academia, is uniquely qualified to address. Jacoby is author of Social Amnesia: A Critique of Contemporary Psychology, The End Of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy, The Repression of Psychoanalysis, The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe, Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism, The Bell Curve Debate (co-editor), Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age, Dogmatic Wisdom: How the Culture Wars Divert Education and Distract America , and, most recently, Bloodlust: On the Roots of Violence from Cain and Abel to the Present.