The name of Edward Shils is not to be found in Who’s Who or in any of the usual directories of prominent persons. This can hardly be through inadvertence. Though so active in the public world of learning, he was, I think, a very private person, not very easy to know. I count it as one of the rewards of my interesting and varied experience as Master of Peterhouse that it gave me the opportunity to know him and become his friend.

He was of course already known to me by repute. As a friend of Professor John U. Nef, the American historian of the British Coal Industry, I had learned about the Committee on Social Thought, of which both were founder members. I had been involved, from an early date, with the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its somewhat controversial history, in which he played a part, and with the excellent periodicals—Der Monat, Encounter,...


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