Understanding Lewis Mumford. A Guide for the Perplexed

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This monograph provides a readable exposition of Lewis Mumford’s views on dozens of issues with continuous, selective reference to his published works. Mumford produced more than 30 books and 3000 articles from 1914 to 1982. Added to this vast corpus are the many books and articles about him in multiple languages. This study elucidates his thoughts about history and its meaning, human nature and its development, science and technology, cities and their culture, art and architecture, and more. It highlights his ideas while integrating Mumford’s words into the exposition, providing an intellectual map. An Appendix includes a personal memoir of the author’s meetings with Mumford.


“Kenneth Stunkel has provided the thread in the fabric of Mumford’s thought with this book…highlighting Mumford’s outlook on a range of themes central to his work. Stunkel provides the context for Mumford’s views, but also thinks with them throughout, applying them to contemporary history, criticizing them, making of Mumford’s ideas themselves the very ‘useable history’ that was his own ideal….One of the delights of this book are the biographical details provided in the appendices. Stunkel describes Mumford’s library, which he helped bring to the Guggenheim Library at Monmouth University for establishment of a Lewis Mumford room, and also his visits with Lewis and Sophia.” – Eugene Halton, Professor, University of Notre Dame

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Prelude: In Search of an Author
2. Why This Book?
3. Guardian and Critic of Civilization
4. Formative Experiences and Thought
5. Principles
6. Style
7. Wisdom
8. Human Nature
9. History
10. Politics
11. Work
12. Science
13. Religion
14. Technics
15. Cities
16. Architecture
17. Art
18. Megamachine
19. Renewal
20. Disputing Lewis Mumford
21. Postlude: Mumford Vindicated
Appendices: Mumford’s Honors; Library; Drawings and Watercolors; Visits with Mumford – A Memoir
Reading and Resources on Lewis Mumford; Cited Works by Lewis Mumford
Supplementary References; Index

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