by C. Wright Mills


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First published in 1956, The Power Elite

stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism.

C. Wright Mills captivated readers with his penetrating analysis and fiery critique of the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, and political elite.

But while The Power Elite can be read as an accurate account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written, its underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory is every bit as significant to the culture of today.
What The Power Elite informed readers of in 1956 was how much the power structure in America had changed during their lifetimes, and Alan Wolfe's astute afterward to this new edition brings us up to date, illustrating how much more has changed since then.

Wolfe offers profound insight into what is still valid in Mills's book and also explores those predictions that have not come to bear, discussing the radical changes in American capitalism, from intense global competition and the collapse of communism to rapid technological transformations and ever-changing consumer tastes.

A penetrating work that remains of great relevance, The Power Elite stimulates us to think about the kind of society we have and the kind of society we might want.



  1. The Higher Circles

  2. Local Society

  3. Metropolitan 400

  4. The Celebrities

  5. The Very Rich

  6. The Chief Executives

  7. The Corporate Rich

  8. The Warlords

  9. The Military Ascendancy

  10. The Political Directorate

  1. The Theory of Balance

  2. The Power Elite

  3. The Mass Society

  4. The Conservative Mood

  5. The Higher Immorality


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