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C. Wright Mills (1916–1962), the prolific and controversial American sociologist, is best known for his work on the structure and distribution of power in the United States and his critique of theory and method in mainstream sociology. Between 1940 and 1962, he authored or edited twelve books, published nearly 200 articles, commentaries, and reviews, and was working on several major projects when he died of a heart attack at age 45.

Mills was born in Waco, Texas, to a doting mother and a father who was a rising insurance salesman. Mills describes himself as a shy and introverted youngster who admired his father's intelligence and integrity. He was sent to Texas A&M but transferred to the University of Texas, Austin, where he studied philosophy and ...

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