C. Wright Mills, an American sociologist, was one of the most controversial social scientists of the mid-twentieth century. He considered himself a rebel against both the academic establishment and American society in general, and he rarely tried to separate his radical ideas from his teaching and writing. Irving Louis Horowitz summarized much of Mills's ideas in the subtitle of his biography of him: An American Utopian. Mill's most traditional sociological study is The Puerto Rican Journey. His most direct attack on his colleagues in sociology is The Sociological Imagination (1959) (which he found left much to be desired). His most ideological work is The Power Elite (1956), an attempt to explain the overall power structure of the United States. Mills thought that the dominant "value-free" methodology of American sociology was an ideological mask, hiding values that he did not share. According to his younger colleague Immanuel Wallerstein, Mills was essentially a utopian reformer who thought that knowledge properly used could bring about a better society.
Charles Wright Mills (August 28, 1916, Waco, Texas - March 20, 1962, West Nyack, New York) was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship. He is also known for studying the structures of power and class in the U.S. in his book The Power Elite. Mills was concerned with the responsibilities of intellectuals in post-World War II society, and advocated public, political engagement over disinterested observation. Mills initially attended Texas A&M University but left after his first year and subsequently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1939 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1941. After a stint at the University of Maryland, College Park, he took a faculty position at Columbia University in 1946, which he kept, despite controversy, until his untimely death by heart attack. In the mid-1940s, together with Paul Goodman, he contributed to Politics, the journal edited during the 1940s by Dwight Macdonald.