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… from UD‘s old friend, Steve Elkin.

“I was his thesis student and his research assistant.

Beer, as Harvey Mansfield once put it, was ‘manly.’ He was virile looking, with a red Guards mustache, a lionesque face and a strongly built body. He also had a boxer’s nose.

I first met him at a reception for new graduate students. He was dressed in an English cut pin-striped suit and leaning on a cane.

I asked whether he had hurt himself.

Yes, he said, taking a sip of sherry; he’d been sky-diving.

What else. He was a gentleman — courteous and forthright. Intellectually, he had the gift of being able to combine acute historical analysis, theoretical propositions in comparative politics, and political theory. Indeed, he was the master of combining these things, and in doing so defined the study of British politics for half a century.

He also wrote a first-class book on the American political order, showing the roots of American thought and practice in early modern and medieval arguments.”


This Harvard Gazette article, which shows you what Beer looked like at ninety, quotes him saying something wonderful:

Beer summarized his intellectual odyssey in a few brief, thought-provoking words: “In my case, it’s been a journey from the land of reason to the land of imagination. I believe that thought advances through metaphor rather than through precept. I really believe that metaphors – those corny expressions, almost a kind of street poetry – tell you more about the future than the think tanks do.”

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3 Responses to “More on Sam Beer…”

  1. Mr Punch Says:

    Is that a Red Guards mustache, or a red Guards mustache? Did the Red Guards even have mustaches?

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Er, I edited what Steve wrote and capitalized Red. Was I wrong?

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Well, if we assume he meant Russian Red Guards, I THINK I’m seeing some mustaches on the faces in the photo Bryant provides in her Red Guards chapter:


    If he means Chinese guards, that’s another story… Or do you mean that there’s another Guards altogether he had in mind?

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