U.S. Intellectual History Blog

George Cotkin

George Cotkin, photo by Chris DalyGeorge Cotkin and his most recent book, Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby Dick, were featured on southern California’s KCET.  The book is a series of astute and, at times, playful, observations of how this great American novel has influenced the nation’s culture over time.  As many know, Cotkin has taken on big ideas in all his books, and so Melville and Moby Dick are well within his range.  In previous books, Cotkin has written on William James, modernism, existentialism, and morality–it is a body of work that stands as an oeuvre in U.S. intellectual history.  Cotkin is also a very well-regarded teacher, and has taught at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California, since 1980 where he is a professor of history.

As noted in the piece on the KCET website, Dive Deeper has received very strong reviews from a diverse array of critics.  Boston Globe reviewer Kate Tuttle, wrote, “The book works so well because it is both serious and seriously entertaining … as affable as it is smart.” Jay Parini, author of “The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville,” hailed Cotkin’s book as a “grand intellectual adventure,” adding, “I can’t imagine a more timely, entertaining, or – indeed – illuminating book.”