Herbert Agar

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Herbert Agar
Herbert Sebastian Agar.jpg
Agar in the 1940s.
Born29 September 1897
Died24 November 1980
(aged 83)
Sussex, U.K.
Alma materColumbia University
Princeton University

Herbert Sebastian Agar (29 September 1897 – 24 November 1980) was an American journalist and historian, and an editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Early life[edit]

Herbert Sebastian Agar was born September 29, 1897 in New Rochelle, New York to John G. Agar and Agnes Louis Macdonough.[1] He graduated from Columbia University in 1919 and received his master's degree from Princeton University in 1922 and Ph.D in 1924.[2]


Agar won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1934 for his 1933 book The People's Choice, a critical look at the American presidency. Agar was associated with the Southern Agrarians and edited, with Allen Tate, Who Owns America? (1936).[3] He was also a strong proponent of an Americanized version of the British distributist socioeconomic system.[4]

Agar's 1950 book The Price of Union was one of John F. Kennedy's favorite books,[5] and he kept a copy of it on his desk.[6] A passage from The Price of Union about an act of courage by John Quincy Adams gave Kennedy the idea of writing an article about senatorial courage. He showed the passage to his speechwriter Ted Sorensen and asked him to see if he could find some more examples. This Sorensen did, and eventually they had enough for a book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage (1956).[7]

Personal life and death[edit]

On June 8, 1945 Agar married Barbara Wallace, the daughter of the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and the widow of Euan Wallace, a former British Minister of Transport.[8]

Agar died on November 24, 1980 in Sussex, England, where he lived since World War II.[2]


  • Milton and Plato (1928)
  • The People's Choice: From Washington to Harding — A Study in Democracy (1933) ISBN 978-0-9665734-0-4[9]
  • Land of the Free (1935)[10]
  • Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence (contributor and co-editor with Allen Tate) (1936) ISBN 978-1-882926-37-4[11]
  • The Pursuit of Happiness: The Story of American Democracy (1938)[12]
  • A Time for Greatness (1942)[13]
  • The Price of Union: The Influence of the American Temper on the Course of History (1950)[12]
  • Abraham Lincoln (1952)[14]
  • The Unquiet Years: U.S.A. 1945–1955 (1957)[15]
  • The Price of Power: America Since 1945 (1957) ISBN 978-0-226-00937-7[16]
  • The Saving Remnant: An Account of Jewish Survival Since 1914 (1960)[17]
  • The Perils of Democracy (1965)[18]
  • The Darkest Year: Britain Alone, June 1940 - June 1941 (1972)[19]


  1. ^ "JOHN G. AGAR, 79, LAWYER, IS DEAD; Ex-Member of Westchester County Park Board Once a Reform Leader Here". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  2. ^ a b "HERBERT AGAR DIES; AUTHOR AND EDITOR; Wrote Prolifically on the American Democratic Heritage--Won Pulitzer Prize in History A Champion of Democratic Ideals Correspondent and Columnist". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  3. ^ Joshua P. Hochschild (2000). Review of Who Owns America?, First Things.
  4. ^ William Fahey (2002). Preface to Vincent McNabb, The Church and the Land (1926)
  5. ^ Favorite Books of President Kennedy
  6. ^ The President's Desk, Page 2
  7. ^ Ted Sorensen, Joanne J. Myers (2008). Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History (Private Lunch) Archived 2009-10-13 at the Wayback Machine, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
  8. ^ "COMDR. HERBERT AGAR TO MARRY IN LONDON". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. ^ Agar, Herbert (1933-01-01). The People's Choice: From Washington to Harding; a Study in Democracy. Houghton Mifflin Comp.
  10. ^ Agar, Herbert (1935-01-01). Land of the Free. Houghton Mifflin.
  11. ^ Agar, Herbert; Tate, Allen (1999-01-01). Who Owns America?: A New Declaration of Independence. ISI Books. ISBN 9781882926374.
  12. ^ a b Agar, Herbert (30 November 1949). The Price Of Union. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  13. ^ Agar, Herbert (1942-01-01). A Time for Greatness. Little, Brown.
  14. ^ Agar, Herbert (1952-01-01). Abraham Lincoln. Collins.
  15. ^ Agar, Herbert (1957-01-01). The Unquiet Years: U. S. A. 1945-1955. Hart-Davis.
  16. ^ Agar, Herbert (1957-08-15). The Price of Power: America Since 1945. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226009377.
  17. ^ Agar, Herbert (1962-01-01). The Saving Remnant: An Account of Jewish Survival. Viking Press.
  18. ^ Agar, Herbert (1965-06-01). The perils of democracy. Bodley Head. ISBN 9780802310019.
  19. ^ Agar, Herbert (1972-01-01). The darkest year: Britain alone, June 1940-June 1941. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385045001.

External links[edit]