49 Years Ago In Time

When MORTIMER ADLER's Great Books of the Western World made its debut, TIME devoted a cover story to the maverick philosopher, calling his "one of the best minds at large today."

He has been denounced as a charlatan, a sensation-seeker, a medieval reactionary, a would-be agent of the Inquisition. He has developed an unequaled gift for making enemies and influencing people. He has spoken rudely of such sacrosanct characters as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes ("It is time that [his] pedestal were dismounted") and Bertrand Russell ("He made a fool of himself"). He has spoken ill of children ("the most imperfect of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!