Alfred de Grazia

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Alfred de Grazia in Naxos, Greece, August 2003

Alfred de Grazia (December 29, 1919 – July 13, 2014), born in Chicago, Illinois, was a political scientist and author. He developed techniques of computer-based social network analysis in the 1950s,[1] developed new ideas about personal digital archives in the 1970s,[2] and defended the catastrophism thesis of Immanuel Velikovsky.


De Grazia attended the University of Chicago, receiving an A.B. there in 1939, attended law school at Columbia University from 1940–1941, and in 1948 earned a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago.[3] His thesis was published in 1951 as Public and Republic: Political Representation in America. When reviewed by The New York Times it was called "A thoroughgoing examination of the meaning of representation, the fundamental element in any definition of republic."[4] and August Heckscher in the New York Herald Tribune said it was "A sober scholarly volume, authoritative in its field."[5]

Military activity[edit]

French Medal of Honor Recipient Alfred de Grazia helping celebrate WWII Victory Day in France

In World War II, de Grazia served in the United States Army, rising from private to captain. He specialized in mechanized warfare, intelligence and psychological warfare. He received training in this then new field in Washington D.C. and the newly established Camp Ritchie in Maryland.[6][7] He served with the 3rd, 5th and 7th Armies and as a liaison officer with the British 8th Army. He took part in six campaigns, from North Africa to Italy (Battle of Monte Cassino) to France and Germany.[8]

De Grazia co-authored a report on psychological warfare for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force.[9] By the end of the war, he was Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team attached to the headquarters of the 7th Army.[6] With his fiancée and later wife, wife Jill deGrazia (neé Bertha Oppenheim), he carried on an extensive wartime correspondence of over 2,000 lengthy letters, published on the web under the title "Letters of Love and War".[10][11][12] Scott Turow cites the letters as being among the sources for his 2005 novel Ordinary Heroes[13]

De Grazia wrote manuals of psychological warfare for the CIA for the Korean War and organized and investigated psychological operations for the Department of Defence during the Vietnam War. His reports on psychological operations, now largely declassified, include Target Analysis and Media in Propaganda to Audiences Abroad (1952),[14] Elites Analysis (1955), as well as Psychological Operations in Vietnam (1968). On October 31, 2014, he posthumously made a Distinguished Member of the Regiment of Psychological Operations of the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[6]

For his service in World War II, de Grazia earned the Bronze Star and the EAME Campaign Medal, as well as the Croix de Guerre from France.[citation needed] On December 31, 2013, he was awarded the highest French distinction, being made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by decree of President François Hollande.[15]

Academic career[edit]

De Grazia was assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis from 1948 to 1950, before becoming associate professor of political science at Brown University.[3] In 1952, he was appointed to be Director of the Committee for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford University, supported by a Ford Foundation grant, but in 1955 was turned down for academic tenure at Stanford.[16] From 1959, he was professor of government and social theory at New York University.[3]

In 1957 de Grazia founded PROD: Political Research: Organization and Design, later renamed The American Behavioral Scientist, an academic journal devoted to the Chicago school of behaviorist sociology. In 1965, he began the Universal Reference System, the first computerized reference system in the social sciences.[17]

Support for Velikovsky[edit]

de Grazia (right) and Immanuel Velikovsky in 1964

De Grazia became interested in Immanuel Velikovsky's catastrophist theories. Following considerable criticism of Velikovsky's claims by the scientific community, de Grazia dedicated the entire September 1963 issue of American Behavioral Scientist to the issue.[18][19] He also self-published two books on it, The Velikovsky Affair: The Warfare of Science and Scientism and Cosmic Heretics: A Personal History of Attempts to Establish and Resist Theories of Quantavolution and Catastrophe in the Natural and Human Sciences.

Michael Polanyi stated:

A number of sociologists actually supported the popular view against the scientists. They came out first in The American Behavioral Scientist (September, 1963) and then again in a book (de Grazia 1966), which angrily attacked the whole community of natural scientists for paying no attention to Velikovsky. For my part I believe that the scientists were quite right in refusing to pay serious attention to Velikovsky's writings, and that the sociologists' attack on them was totally unfounded.[18]

In a review of the second book, Henry Bauer suggests that de Grazia's efforts may be responsible for Velikovsky's continuing notability.[20]

In both books de Grazia subscribes to the thesis that, in the words of Henry Bauer, "the affair revealed something seriously rotten in the state of science". The review however suggests that the rejection came about…

because Velikovsky wanted instant recognition as the authority on science when he had no standing in any science, no qualifications, had not paid his dues through recognized achievements and presented his ideas in the form of a popularly published book rather than through technical articles.

The review further suggests that "de Grazia does not understand how the content of science is generated" and that his "understanding of science as a social activity is ambiguous."[20]

In the second book, de Grazia upholds Velikovsky's most general claim, that geologically recent (in the last 15,000 years) extraterrestrially-caused catastrophes occurred, and had a significant impact on the Earth and its inhabitants. De Grazia terms this belief "Quantavolution".[20]

Later career[edit]

In the early 1970s, de Grazia founded the "University of the New World" in Haute-Nendaz Switzerland, as an unstructured alternative to American universities. He invited Beat author William S. Burroughs to teach at it. In his biography of Burroughs, Ted Morgan described the students that it attracted as "drifters and dropouts on the international hippie circuit"; he suggested that this resulted in a culture clash with the "prim Swiss", and that the university lacked adequate facilities or a sound business model.[21]

In 2002, de Grazia was appointed visiting professor in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, Computing and Applications of the University of Bergamo in Italy.[22] He had previously been a visiting lecturer at the University of Rome, the University of Bombay, the University of Istanbul, and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Alfred de Grazia was married to Jill Oppenheim (d. 1996) from 1942 to 1971, to Nina Mavridis from 1972 to 1973,[3] and at the time of his death had been married to Anne-Marie (Ami) von Hueber - de Grazia, a French writer, since 1982,[23][24]

He had seven children with Jill Oppenheim. One of them, Carl, a musician, died in 2000. One of his daughters, Victoria de Grazia, a Professor of Contemporary History at Columbia University, is a member of the American Academy.[25]


  • Michels, Robert, First lectures in political sociology. Translated, with an introduction, by Alfred de Grazia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, [1949]. And Harper & Row, 1965.[26]
  • Public and republic: political representation in America. New York: Knopf, 1951.[27][28][29][30] *The elements of political science]. Series: Borzoi Books in Political Science. New York: Knopf, 1952. And second revised edition: Politics and government: the elements of political science. Vol 1: the element of political science and Vol. 2: Political organization. [1962]. New York: Collier, 1962– ;new revised edition, New York: Free Press London: Collier Macmillan, 1965.[31][32]
  • The Western Public: 1952 and beyond. [A study of political behaviour in the western United States.]. Stanford: Stanford University Press, [1954.][33]
  • The American way of government. National edition. New York : Wiley, [1957]. There is also a "National, State and Local edition".[34]
  • Foundation for Voluntary Welfare. Grass roots private welfare : winning essays of the 1956 national awards competition of the Foundation for Voluntary Welfare. Alfred de Grazia, editor. New York: New York University Press, 1957.
  • American welfare. New York: New York University Press, 1961 (with Ted Gurr).
  • World politics: a study in international relations. Series: College Outline Series. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1962.
  • Apportionment and representative government. Series: Books that matter. New York : Praeger, c.1963
  • Essay on apportionment and representative government. Washington : American Enterprise Institute, 1963[35]
  • Revolution in teaching: new theory, technology, and curricula. With an introduction by Jerome Bruner. New York: Bantam Books, [1964] (Editor, with David A. Sohn).
  • Universal Reference System. Political science, government, and public policy: an annotated and intensively indexed compilation of significant books, pamphlets, and articles, selected and processed by the Universal Reference System. Prepared under the direction of Alfred De Grazia, general editor, Carl E. Martinson, managing editor, and John B. Simeone, consultant. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Research Pub. Co., 1965–69. Plus nine more volumes on the subjects of: International Affairs; Economic Regulation; Public Policy and the Management of Science; Administrative Management; Comparative Government and Cultures; Legislative Process; Bibliography of Bibliographies in Political Science, Government and Public Policy; Current Events and Problems of Modern Society; Public Opinion, Mass Behavior and Political Psychology; Law, Jurisprudence and Judicial Process.
  • Republic in crisis: Congress against the executive force. New York: Federal Legal Publications, [1965]
  • Political behavior. Series: Elements of political science; 1. New, revised edition. New York: Free press paperback, 1966.
  • Congress, The First Branch of Government, editor, Doubleday – Anchor Books, 1967[36]
  • Congress and the Presidency: Their Roles in Modern Times, with Arthur M. Schlesinger, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, 1967.
  • Passage of the Year, Poetry, Quiddity Press, Metron publications, Princeton, N.J., 1967.[37]
  • The Behavioral Sciences: Essays in honor of George A. Lundberg, editor, Behavioral Research Council, Great Barrington, Mass;, 1968.
  • Kalos: What is to be Done with Our World?,, New York University Press, 1968.
  • Old Government, New People: Readings for the New politics, et al., Scott, Foresman, Glenview, Ill., 1971.
  • Politics for Better or Worse, Scott, Foresman, Glenview, Ill., 1973.
  • Eight Branches of Government: American Government Today, w. Eric Weise, Collegiate Pub., 1975.
  • Eight Bads – Eight Goods: The American Contradictions, Doubleday – Anchor Books, 1975.
  • Supporting Art and Culture: 1001 Questions on Policy, Lieber-Atherton, New York, 1979.
  • Kalotics: A Revolution of Scientists and Technologists for World Development, Kalos Foundation, Bombay, 1979.
  • A Cloud Over Bhopal: Causes, Consequences, and Constructive Solutions, Kalos Foundation for the India-America Committee for the Bhopal Victims: Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1985.
  • The Babe, Child of Boom and Bust in Old Chicago, umbilicus mundi, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1992.[38]
  • The Student: at Chicago in Hutchin's Hey-day, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton N.J., 1991.[39]
  • The Taste of War: Soldiering in World War II, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1992.[8]
  • Twentieth Century Fire-Sale, Poetry, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1996.[40]
  • The American State of Canaan – the peaceful, prosperous juncture of Israel and Palestine as the 51st State of the United States of America, Metron Publications, Princeton, NJ, 2009 LCCN 2008945276.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ de Grazia, Alfred; Deutschmann, Paul; and Hunter, Floyd. "Manual of Elite Target Analysis" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  2. ^ de Grazia, Alfred de. "The Personal Archive: On Retrieving Valuable Cultural Resources" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  3. ^ a b c d e "Contemporary Authors Online". Gale. 2009.  Reproduced in "Biography Resource Center". Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. 2009. 
  4. ^ Binkley, W. E. The New York Times (August 26, 1951) p.6
  5. ^ Heckscher, August New York Herald Tribune Book Review (March 18, 1951) p.13.
  6. ^ a b c The Proper Gander magazine of the Psychological Operations Regiment at Fort Bragg, NC, Vol. 1, No. 1. (October 2014)
  7. ^ See credits of Bauer, Christian. The Ritchie Boys (documentary film, 2004)
  8. ^ a b de Grazia, Alfred. The Taste of War: Soldiering in World War II Metron, 1992.
  9. ^ Herz, Martin and de Grazia, Alfred. Combat Propaganda by Leaflet Shell, Psychological Warfare study produced for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force Georgetown University Library, Washington D.C.
  10. ^ "Letter of Love and War" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  11. ^ "Wartime Love Story to Unfold on the Net" Chicago Sun-Times (February 14, 1997)
  12. ^ Quoted in Spain, Tom and Shohl, Michael. I'll Be Home for Christmas: The Library of Congress Revisits the Spirit of Christmas in World War II. Delacorte Press (1999).
  13. ^ Turow, Scott. "Ordinary Heroes"
  14. ^ US Army Military History Institute. Psychological Warfare since WWII – A working bibliography
  15. ^
  16. ^ Lowen, Rebecca S. (1997). Creating the Cold War university: the transformation of Stanford. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520917903. 
  17. ^ Clifton, Brock (April 1967). "Political science". Library Trends (Illinois Digital Environment for Access for Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS), special issue: Bibliography: Current State and Future Trends, Part 2) 15 (4): 628–647.  PDF
  18. ^ a b Polanyi, Michael "Lecture 4: Myths, ancient and modern", Lecture at University of Chicago Spring 1969. Polanyi archive
  19. ^ Lakatos, Imre; Feyerabend, Paul and Motterlini, Matteo. For and against method: including Lakatos's lectures on scientific method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend correspondence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. ISBN 0-226-46774-0 ISBN 0-226-46775-9
  20. ^ a b c Bauer, Henry H. (1985). "Inside the Velikovsky Affair" (PDF). Skeptical Inquirer 9 (3): 284–288. 
  21. ^ Morgan, Ted (1990). Literary Outlaw. New York: Avon. pp. 453–454. ISBN 0-8050-0901-9. 
  22. ^ Staff entry
  23. ^ "Publisher's Note" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  24. ^ De Grazia, Alfred (1984). Cosmic Heretics, Metron. ISBN 0-940268-08-6. "Chapter 15: 'The Knowledge Industry'", p. 329.
  25. ^ "Ten Historians are elected to the American Academy" American Historical Association (November 2005)
  26. ^ Hunter, Floyd in Social Forces Vol. 29, No. 2 (December 1950), pp. 220-221, University of North Carolina Press [1]
  27. ^ Merriam, Charles E., in The University of Chicago Law Review Vol. 18, No. 4 (Summer, 1951), pp. 825-826 [2]
  28. ^ Stapleton, Laurence in The New England Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 1 (March 1952), p. 129 [3]
  29. ^ Brockunier, S. H. in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 38, No. 1 (June 1951), pp. 92-93, publ. by Organization of American Historians [4]
  30. ^ [
  31. ^ Ebenstein, William in The Western Political Quarterly Vol. 5, No. 3 (September 1952), pp. 539-540, publ. by University of Utah on behalf of Western Political Science Association [5]
  32. ^ Steven Muller, in American Quarterly Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring, 1954), pp. 88+90-91, The Johns Hopkins University Press [6]
  33. ^ C.J.C. in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1944-) Vol. 31, No. 4 (October 1955), p. 552, Blackwell Publishing [7]
  34. ^ Wright, Esmond in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs: 1944-) Vol. 34, No. 2 (April 1958), pp. 263-264, Blackwell Publishing [8]
  35. ^ Revista Mexicana de Sociologia, Vol. 26, No. 3 (September–December 1964), pp. 908-910 [9]
  36. ^ W. Wayne Shannon, in The Journal of Politics Vol. 29, No. 4 (November 1967), pp. 889-890, Cambridge University Press on behalf of Southern Political Science Association[10]
  37. ^ "Passage" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  38. ^ "Babe" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  39. ^ "The Student" on the Alfred de Grazia website
  40. ^ "Fire-Sale" on the Alfred de Grazia website

Further reading

  • Tresman, Ian (ed.) Quantavolution - Challenges to Conventional Science, Knowledge Computing, UK (2010) ASIN B00587G1FI (hardcover) Festschrift in honor of de Grazia's 90th birthday.

External links[edit]