This is the definitive study of the history and accomplishments of the Frankfurt School. It offers elegantly written portraits of the major figures in the school's history as well as overviews of the various positions and directions they developed from the founding years just after World War I until the death of Theodor Adorno in 1969.
The book is based on documentary and biographical materials that have only recently become available. As the narrative follows the Institute for Social Research from Frankfurt am Main to Geneva, New York, and Los Angeles, and then back to Frankfurt, Wiggershaus continually ties the evolution of the school to the changing intellectual and political contexts in which it operated. He also interweaves these accounts with incisive summaries of substantive works by Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Fromm, Kirchheimer, Lowenthal, Marcuse, Neumann, Pollock, and Habermas.
The book is self-contained and can serve as a general introduction to critical theory, but it also has a wealth of new material to offer those who are familiar with this tradition but would like to learn more about its history and context.