Alfred de Grazia

The Life of Alfred de Grazia


Alfred de Grazia was born December 29, 1919, in Chicago, USA, the second of four sons. His father, Alfred Joseph Sr, as well as his maternal grandparents were immigrants from Sicily. His four grand-parents were therefore Sicilian.
Alfred Joseph Sr. was a musician, conductor and band-leader, and a leader of the Musicians’ Union in Chicago. He was born as Giuseppe di Grazia in Licodia Eubea, in the province of Catania, and had studied the humanities at a Dominican school, as well as music and the clarinet at the conservatory of the nearby town of Vizzini, the home-town of Giovanni Verga and the location of Cavalleria Rusticana.

  • Licodia-Eubea, Sicily
  • Licodia-Eubea, Sicily
  • Licodia Eubea, Sicily
  • Sergeant Sebastiano di Grazia (1865)
  • Career of Sebastiano de Grazia, hand-written on reverse of photograph by his son.

This term of “rustic chivalry” well applied to his father Sebastiano (picture), a blacksmith and a sergeant in the elite troop of the Bersaglieri, decorated with three gold medals for military valor. During the Third Independence War of Italy, he took part in two of the most illustrious episodes: he was injured as one of men forming the Square of Villafranca at the disastrous Battle of Custoza, in 1866, which in extremis saved Crown Prince Umberto (I.) from the Austrians. He was among the fighters of the Breach of the Porta Pia (Breccia di Porta Pia) in Rome, in 1870, known as the “Capture of Rome,” the ultimate battle of the Italian Risorgimento, against the troops of the Pope and of Emperor Napoleon III., which completed the unification of Italy. 

Squadra di Villafranca, Battle of Custoza (1866)

Squadra di Villafranca, Battle of Custoza, 1866

The Breach of Porta Pia, capture of Rome (1870)

The Breach of Porta Pia, 1870

  • Famiglia di Sebastiano di Grazia, Licodia Eubea, Sicilia
  • Francesca di Grazia, Licodia Eubea

Little is known about Sebastiano’s wife, whose maiden-name was Lainè, (no doubt a name of Norman origin, derived from the French l’aîné, “the eldest”) who died young. They had another, older son, and a daughter, who became a nun, Suor Francesca. 

  • Alfred J. de Grazia Sr.
  • Alfred J. de Grazia Sr, conductor

As a young man, Alfred’s father was a democrat and a secularist and took part in the political struggles which tore Sicily at the end of the XIX century, brought about by the oppressive political and economic domination by the Italian North after unification. He is said to have hit the mayor of Licodia-Eubea with his clarinet at a municipal celebration which turned into a riot, and to have escaped from the police by boarding a boat to America, landing in New Orleans. In the years following, he would become a notable musician, touring the United States with his classical music band, directing promenade concerts at the great kiosk on the Navy Pier in Chicago, and teaching music. He played the saxophone solo at the première of Turandot at the Opera of Chicago.  He seems to have adopted the new surname of Alfred in reference to the eponymous character in La Traviata. (Ama mi, Alfredo...!)

The maternal grandparents of Alfred de Grazia also had landed in New Orleans, probably a decade or so earlier, coming from the village of Villa Alba, above Palermo, poor among the poor, and fleeing the misery and political unrest that had seized Sicily. Giuseppe Lupo and his pregnant wife, whose maiden-name was Cardinale, were a young couple, with a four-year old son, Carlo. Upon arrival, Giuseppe Lupo tried to make a living as a share-cropper among African-Americans in Louisiana, but salaries were so miserable that it was impossible for them to survive.  He had found poorer than the poorest of Sicilians.

He was advised to try his luck in Chicago, and so the three of them walked up all the way from Baton Rouge to the Windy City, Giuseppe carrying his wife on his back as her pregnancy was advancing, while holding his little son by the hand. In Chicago, he became a sewer-worker and remained on the job until his retirement, eventually becoming a supervisor. In his retirement, he owned two houses and a pool-room. He had four children. Alfred’s mother, Katherine, whose given Sicilian name was Callida, was the third, and eldest daughter. He died age 91. His wife died at a much younger age, during Katherine’s pregnancy with her second son, Alfred. He remarried, and Katherine distanced herself from him. His eldest son, the little boy who had walked all the way from Baton Rouge to Chicago, became a boxer and prizefighter under the name of Charlie Kid Lucca, and became Champion of Canada of the welterweights.  He fought, and won, in Paris in 1910.

Giuseppe Lupo, Chicago

Giuseppe Lupo in his great age

Childhood and education

Sebastian, Alfred and their father, Alfred Jospeh de Grazia Sr (1921)

Alfred Giuseppe de Grazia Sr married Katherine Lupo in Chicago in 1916. Their first son, Sebastian, was born in 1917. Alfred in 1919. Followed by Edward in 1927 and Victor in 1929. They grew up in an apartment in a four-storey brick building on Hill Street in North Chicago, facing Seward Park, in a neighborhood which was then mostly German, Polish and Swedish.

The picture shows Sebastian, Alfred and their father Alfred Joseph Sr. in July 1921 at Glen Park, Michigan, where the family rented a cottage every Summer.

Sebastian and Alfred de Grazia, Chicago, 1920.

Sebastian and Alfred, Chicago, 1920

Alfred de Grazia and Sebastian de Grazia, Princeton, N.J., Dec. 1999

Alfred and Sebastian 79 years later, Princeton, N.J., Battle Road, Dec. 1999

Alfred Joseph de Grazia Sr., Katherine née Lupo, Alfred (sitting) and Sebastian (ca 1925)

Alfred Joseph Sr, Katherine née Lupo, Alfred Joseph Jr, Sebastian (ca 1925)

Sebastian, Katherine née Lupo and Alfred de Grazia (1920s)

Sebastian, Katherine, Alfred (with cane)

  • Alfred de Grazia
  • Alfred de Grazia

Alfred Jr attended Franklin Grammar School, Waller and Lake View High Schools and intensively used the Seward Park local library, having read all the children’s books by age ten and, after an examination, gaining admittance to the adult section. After a false start at the violin, he was taught to play the trumpet. He shone as a boy-scout and worked as a waiter at a resort in Michigan in his early teens. He graduated from High School before age 15 and was offered both a half-scholarship at University of Chicago and a full scholarship at Northwestern University. He opted for University of Chicago and started his independent life in September 1934, moving out from his parents’ house on a children’s fare ticket on the El’ train into a communal student apartment on campus, working as a bus-boy at Billings Hospital Cafeteria and playing the trumpet in the University of Chicago Band in order to pay for the second half of his tuition.

  • Harold D. Lasswell (1935)
  • Harold D. Lasswell

He studied social and political sciences with Harold D. Lasswell (picture), who remained a life-long friend and model, Robert Maynard Hutchins who was then the much celebrated and criticized President of the University, Mortimer Adler, Max Horkheimer, T.V. Smith, Charles E. Merriam, Nathan Leites, Louis Wirth, Harold Gosnell, even, during a brief stint, Bertrand Russel.
He became the manager of the University Band. The Band rehearsed under the bleachers of the University football stadium, close to the lab where a team under Enrico Fermi was developing the atom bomb. He was a member of the University’s water-polo team, which won vice-championship of the university clubs.
He did service in the National Guard Black Horse Troop and Mounted Band, at the Chicago Armory, playing the trumpet on horse-back. 
He admired, and became close to, the Sicilian anti-fascist writer Giuseppe Borgese, exiled in Chicago, who became the Co-Chairman of the World Movement for a World Federal Government, the leading theorist of maximal world government, which is a straight ancestor of Kalos.Cosmos. In 1948, Borgese would frame the Constitution of World Government, together with Robert Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer Adler.

Giuseppe Borgese

Giuseppe Borgese

Alfred de Grazia, above Florence (1938)

In 1938 and 1939, together with his brother Sebastian, who followed him to the University of Chicago, and two friends, he created a jazz combo and played aboard ocean liners for the price of their passage to Europe. In 1939, they toured Front Populaire France, Society of Nations Switzerland, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, all the way to their father’s hometown of Licodia-Eubea, Sicily.

Alfred above Florence (1938)

At University of Chicago, he met his wife to be, also a student, Jill Oppenheim, from New York City. After obtaining his MA, he studied Law for one year at Columbia University, but returned to Chicago, lovesick. 

Jill Oppenheim

Jill Oppenheim (1919-1996)

They were having a late brunch together at Steinway's Café in Chicago on Sunday, December 7 1941 when they heard over the radio the annuncement of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

A Soldier in World War II

Alfred de Grazia draftee peeling potatoes 1943

In February 1942, Alfred de Grazia was drafted into the US Army. He did military training, mainly in Tennessee and in Paris, Texas. He was affected to a barrage balloon unit, was made a lieutenant and married Jill Oppenheim in Chicago during a furlough, in a small ceremony only attended by his parents and a member of his regiment. Then, surprisingly, he was called to Washington DC to join OSS and it’s newly forming Psychological Warfare Unit at Camp Ritchie. With a few other officers, he helped organize the first Mobile Radio Broadcast Company of the US Army, which became the model for all subsequent ones. He worked with the poet Peter Viereck, with Martin Herz (later a diplomat), the German-Hungarian writer Hans Habe, and the German writer Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann, and whose sister Elisabeth was married to his friend Giuseppe Borgese. 

  • Alfred de Grazia + group WWII
  • Alfred de Grazia, World War 2

When he embarked in Newport News for the war in North Africa, in April 1943, Jill was pregnant. He landed in Oran and was affected to the British Eighth Army as liaison officer. After several months of activity monitoring and sending radio broadcasts in Oran, Algiers and Tunis, during the North Africa Campaign, he participated in the landings in Sicily, setting foot in Syracuse. He created on he spot the first Allied newspaper on liberated European territory, the Corriere di Siracusa, four pages of urgent and practically useful news, two in Italian, two in English. He would repeat the same feat with the Corriere di Palermo the following year. During most of his time in Italy, he worked closely with British Intelligence and with Major Ian Greenlees. During the whole duration of the war, he exchanged almost daily letters with his wife Jill. Jill herself, who had worked as a journalist at Coronet magazine, was a vivid and enthusiastic letter writer, who kept him abreast day-to-day with her pregnancy, her young motherhood, and life on the Home Front, in Chicago. This correspondence has been published on the Internet as Letters of Love and War.

He took part in the landings in Salerno and found himself stuck for the winter in the Abruzzi mountains, facing the Abbey of Monte Cassino, doing recognizance work and living in a tent in the mud, under chilling mountain rains. On his own initiative, he wrote a report to Allied Headquarters stating that from his own experience and investigation, there were no German military present inside the Abbey. The report was not paid attention to, but its statements have been verified after the war. (Hapgood and Richardson (1984): subsequent investigations have confirmed that the only people killed in the monastery by the bombing were 230 Italian civilians seeking refuge there.) In the last days of 1943, on the eve of his 24th birthday, Jill gave birth to their daughter, Catherine.

He witnessed the destruction of the Abbey by Allied bombings on February 15th, 1944. He was then dispatched to support the landings operations at Anzio, and from there to the Allied Headquarters in Caserta. He also fulfilled a special mission in Sardinia, and new missions in Sicily.With Major Greenlees, he entered Bari as the first American. Together with his driver, Antonio Segre, he rescued the Italian writers Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante who were hiding out in the countryside and helped them to safety in Rome. Morante worked for him for a time as a secretary in Rome, where he found himself in charge of giving out permissions to film to Italian filmmakers; one of them was Roberto Rossellini, for the film Paisà.   

Alfred de Grazia liberation Dachau concentration camp 1944

In August 1944, he took part in the landings in Provence, landing near Saint-Tropez and took part in the liberation of Southern France, around Toulon and Marseille, coordinating operations with the French Resistance. For his actions, he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

He followed the Allied thrust along Route Napoleon, North through the Alps and Grenoble and up to Alsace and Lorraine. He took part in the invasion of Germany in 1945, heading the Seventh Army Combat Propaganda Team. He worked together with the German journalist, now an American citizen, Hans Wallenberg, and was involved in several arrests of prominent Nazi personalities. Alfred personally arrested Robert Ley, head of the German Labor Front and number four in the Nazi hierarchy. He entered the concentration camp at Dachau on May 1 or 2nd, immediately after it was liberated, before the piles of dead bodies had been disposed of. He returned to Chicago in September 1945 and was demobilized later that year.

Alfred de Grazia WWII Heidelberg 1945

Heidelberg, 1945

The Political Scientist - Academic Career

While working on his PhD thesis with Harold D. Lasswell, which he obtained  (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1948, he taught American government at the University of Indiana. His second daughter, Victoria, was born to Jill and him in 1946, his third, Jessica, in 1948. His PhD thesis was published by Alfred A. Knopf in New York under the title Public and Republic. It was not his first book, he had published earlier a translation of Roberto Michels’ First Lectures in Political Sociology, from the Italian, with the help of his father.  He supplied much of the theory for the Federalism Task Force of the Hoover Commission on the Organization of the Federal Government in 1947-48.

From 1948, he taught political science at University of Minnesota then, in 1950, at Brown University, while teaching at the same time at Harvard and at Columbia University. 

Alfred A. Knopf commissioned him – he was not yet thirty years old – to write a text book: The Elements of Political Science, which Alfred delivered, in less than two years, in two volumes: Political Behavior and Political Organization. The Elements of Political Science put him unquestionably in the forefront of the new post-war generation of American political scientists.

It was reviewed by Prof. Steven Muller, of Cornell University, in American Quarterly Vol. 6, No 1 (Spring, 1954) pp 88+90-91:

One cannot but receive a work of this scope with admiration. Mr De Grazia has undertaken to dissect the whole body of political science before the uninitiated student. He achieves his purpose with unfailing clarity, and his readers will learn from him the range, the goals, and the techniques of the study of politics as pursued in most American universities.

The book is divided into four parts: scope and method, political behaviour, governmental organization, and democracy and policy. Each chapter has a postscript consisting of questions and problems relating to the material covered and of references to further reading and suggestions for research topics.

Mr. De Grazia defines political science as “scientific method applied to political events.” “Like any other science,” he goes on to say, “it is an attempt to reduce, by ever broader statements, the facts with which it deals to a number of clear, precise, descriptive principles.” This definition sets the tone for the whole volume, and the book will naturally find most accord among those who subscribe to the definition without a qualm.

In 2014, 62 years after its publication, it still ranked 47th out of 161 in Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters, 2015).

He continued contributing to the field of war propaganda. His heavy war experience was brought into play in the Korean and later in the Viet Nam Wars and on occasion as a consultant to the State Department and Department of Defence. “De Grazia not only provided combat leadership in the burgeoning field of tactical PSYWAR in WWII, but helped understand outside understanding of PSYWAR thorough research and writing. He authored reports for the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, including a 1953 Operations Research Office (The Johns Hoskins University) study for the US Army called Target Analysis and Media in Propaganda to Audiences Abroad." (Jared Tracey, The Proper Gander, Issue 2, Vol. 2, Oct. 1, 2014).

He wrote Targeting Elites, a working manual for the CIA.  In Vietnam he tried without success to convert a war of devastation into a "welfare war." His reports on psychological operations, now largely declassified, include an early technical manual of the American Fifth Army published in the field (Cassino, 1944), and Psychological Operations in Vietnam (1968). 

Alfred de Grazia w. Jill and children Palo Alto

Against all expectations, he was denied tenure at Stanford University in 1955, for reasons which remained mysterious even to him for decades. He finally discovered that it had been for accepting a grant from the Relm Foundation, at the height of McCarthyism, for a study of “the origins and present restrictions on the political activities of workers,” judged too subversive by the board, according to Rebecca S. Lowen’s book Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.

He moved back to the East Coast, establishing himself in Princeton, New Jersey. By then four boys had been added to the family: Paul (born in 1949), John (1951), Carl (1952) and Christopher (1954). He worked as a consultant, among others for General Motors, and became tenured professor in Political and Social Sciences at New York University.

He founded the highly regarded magazine PROD, later renamed The American Behavioral Scientist (ABS), which he sold in 1965 to Sara Miller McCune and which inaugurated Sage Publications.

"PROD, a journal that some American political scientists - and many of its readers - probably regarded as the authentic spokesman for the newest currents among the avant-garde of political behavior." Robert A. Dahl, in Behavioralism in Political Science, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick and London (1969).

He wrote and published heavily, on Apportionment, on Private Welfare, on Congress. Some of his work was supported by the think-tank The American Enterprise Institute, of which his friend Bill Baroody was the Vice-President, and then President. 

In a book published in 2010, On appreciating congress – the people’s branch, Paradigm Publishers, Louis Fisher writes:

The conservative American Enterprise Institute sponsored a series of studies edited by Alfred de Grazia and published in 1967. The title left no doubt about the commitment to republican government: Congress: the First Branch of Government. De Grazia described Congress as “the central institution of the American democratic republic. Unless it functions well and powerfully, much more so than it has in the past, the road to a bureaucratic state and kind of monarchic government will be opened up.” To those who rhapsodized about the coherence, unity, harmony, and rationality of the president, de Grazia reminded them that the president is “a Congress with a skin thrown over him.” If you look carefully within the executive branch you will see fragmentation, divisions, compromise, and various interests fighting for control. The difference is that the legislative process is largely visible; the executive process is not. 

Alfred de Grazia was a staunch support of the power of Congress, against what he saw as the encroachment of the Presidency, which he called: the Executive Force. His most important book on the subject is Republic in Crisis: Congress Against the Executive Force.

These views of Alfred de Grazia are far from forgotten. A book published in 2015: The Presidency and Political Science: paradigms of presidential power from the founding to the present, by Raymond Tatalovich (Loyola university Chicago) Steven Schier (Carleton College), Taylor & Francis, Routledge, London, classifies him as an "Anti-aggrandizement scholar" and analyzes his positions thus:

The thesis developed by Alfred de Grazia, coming in 1965 at the high-water mark of the Great Society, is that “the executive of the national government represents and leads the national movement towards a society of order. Congress… expresses the national urge to liberty. The Executive Force is winning and… the congressional or Republican Force… is weakening.” What he calls the “dogmas of the responsible political party” have “sparked the movement of the Executive Force in this century,” dating back to Wilson. De Grazia is a dissenter, because he “considers the great danger that the [responsible] political party will be the means by which the government is converted from a republic into an executive bureaucracy.”

(...)Challenging the liberalism of academia, de Grazia doubts that the president can be the tribune of the people, and to call him the “custodian of the public interest or of the national interest is presumptuous,” because he is custodian of a public interest, his own, and that may be popular or not, shared by Congress or not. When de Grazia speaks of the “problem of dictatorship,” he is citing the growth of the executive apparatus. That is to say, “there is a dictator only because the bureaucratic state must have a face.

Concerning both the “ends” and the “means” of government, Alfred de Grazia is a conservative. His values concerning what government should and should not be doing are explicit, and he much prefers congressional policymaking. He is not troubled … about “oligarchy and seniority” wielding disproportionate influence within the legislative process, because Congress operates principally through the decision system of successive majorities.” By that, de Grazia means that different majorities rule in subcommittees, committees, and the floor of each house of Congress. And here de Grazia echoes Wilmore Kendall …: “A rich variety of representational forces filters through the system of successive majorities. Neither the presidency, nor the civil service, nor the pressure groups, nor the courts, nor the political party, nor the press could individually or all together duplicate the process and provide the same ‘product mix.’”

The American Enterprise Institute published a book of a debate between him and historian Arthur Schlesinger: Congress and the Presidency: Their Roles in Modern Times, in a series called “Rational Debates.” Schlesinger took the opposite view, extolling Presidential power. A decade or so later, Schlesinger actually recanted his views on the superior qualities of the Presidency.

He published heavily, articles as well as books such as: The American Way of Government (1957), American Welfare (1961, with Ted Gurr), World Politics: a Study in International Relations (1962), Apportionment and Representative Government (1963,) Revolution in Teaching: new theory, technology, and curricula (1964), Republic in Crisis: Congress against the executive force (1965), Congress, The First Branch of Government (editor – 1967), Congress and the Presidency: Their Roles in Modern Times, (1967, with Arthur M. Schlesinger), Politics for Better or Worse (1973),  Eight Branches of Government: American Government Today (1975, with Eric Weise), Eight Bads – Eight Goods: The American Contradictions (1975)...

Prof. Alfred de Grazia

He created, together with Carl E. Martinson and John B. Simeone as consultant, the landmark Universal Reference System, which was the first computerized index of “significant books, pamphlets and articles in the Social Sciences” (1965-1969). The first computerized social science bibliographic service was his invention, and he designed other systems for use in welfare tracking and inventorying governmental functions. "The leading exponent-and practitioner-in this area, however, has been Alfred de Grazia, professor of government at New York University and founder-editor of the American Behavioral Scientist (…) By 1963 he had developed a "Topical and Methodological Index," a special social science classification system consisting of some 250 terms emphasizing methodological and theoretical approaches and adaptable to computerization. This classification system was further refined and in 1965 was applied to the first of a projected ten-volume series of bibliographies in "Political Science, Government, and Public Policy. Volume 1 of this Universal Reference System series, on "International Affairs" (New York, 1965),was produced on IBM 1401/1410computers and contains citations, annotations, and indexed descriptors of over 3,000 books and articles...."  Cliford Brock, "Political Science" in Library Trends (April 1967 - the full article is available at under "Cliford Brock.")

He joined his friend William Baroody who was giving new life to the public policy think-tank American Enterprise Association (whose name was changed in 1962 to American Enterprise Institute) which assembled a “top-notch stable of scholars. Baroody worked tirelessly to make them indispensable to the city’s workings. Washington was complex and AEA made its name by making it simpler – providing legislators with a steady stream of issue guides that meticulously and fairly spelled out both sides of a pending bill, amendment or policy question. Every word was vetted by an advisory council of professors” (Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus,  New York: Hill and Wang, 2001, p. 256) one of whom was Alfred de Grazia. The American Enterprise Institute would become a few years later the hotbed of neo-conservatism. Before the term was used and abused, Alfred de Grazia supplied much salient doctrine to the "New Conservatism" including voluntary welfare theory, anti-bureaucratic systems designs, and the strengthening of the independence and competence of the legislative branch of government. Much of this work was done with the aid, beside the American Enterprise Institute, of the William Volker Fund, the Relm and Earhart Foundations, and New York University.
Under the auspices of the American Enterprise Institute, he directed a group of experts in a sweeping study of the functions and reform of the United States Congress. Some of the many proposals of the report, entitled Congress: First Branch of Government (1966-7), ultimately achieved adoption. He referred to himself as a "radical-reactionary," and as such came under attack both by liberals and conservatives.
He was an advisor to various national foundations, government agencies, and corporations, and was a senior consultant to the State Department. He was a consultant to General Motors Corporation, General Electric Corporation, Hawaiian Pineapple Company, the American Jewish committee, and other groups.

Alfred de Grazia, Abner Mikva, Charles Percy, Leo Strauss, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Novak a.o.


Seated: Rep Abner Mikva, Harvey Mansfeld Jr., Robert Goldwin, Sen. Charles Percy (Alfred's former team-mate from the water-polo team at U. of Chicago), Alfred de Grazia, Harry Jaffa, Samuel Gove: Center: Rep. Charles Mathias Jr., Robert Novak, Herman Pritchett, Leo Strauss, Robert Horwitz, Robert Pickup, Rep. Donald Rumsfeld; Rear: Rep. Robert Kastenmeyer, Loye Miller Jr., Gordon Baker, Alan Otten, Judge Hubert Will, Clark McGregor, Thomas Littlewood, David Broder.

His wife Jill converted to Catholicism and Alfred, who had held to the secularism of his father, took his first communion age 40, without converting to believing Catholicism and keeping his independence from allegiance to any faith. He worked with Father Morleone, the founder of the Pro Deo movement and led a Jewish-Catholic committee to visit Pope John XXIII to ask for the abrogation of perceived anti-Semitic passages of the Catholic liturgy, particularly of the Good Friday service, which was done.

He was also a representative to UNESCO in Paris and involved in problems connected with the construction of the Asswan dam in Egypt.

The Shift to the Anti-Establishment

Immanuel Velikovsky, Alfred de Grazia

In 1962, at the age of 43, Alfred met Immanuel Velikovsky, the Russian-born medical doctor and psychoanalyst, who had emigrated to the USA over Israel during World War II and who had been propulsed to sudden and sulfurous fame in 1950, when he published his book Worlds in Collision, positing that great catastrophes caused by close approaches of Venus and Mars with Earth in historic times and related electromagnetic disturbances explained many ancient myths and most major biblical events, which were to be seen as culturally elaborated descriptions of  events which had occurred in reality (much akin to the Freudian theory of dreams). The book caused the greatest publishing and academic scandal of the period of the post World War. The two men, both denizens of Princeton, became close friends, and Alfred de Grazia’s decision to devote an entire issue of his by now influential and prestigious magazine The American Behavioral Scientist to the ideas of Velikovsky and their reception in the scientific and academic world can be seen as his first (and resounding) step out of the academic establishment. His own contribution to the issue was an article On the Reception System of Science. The issue was republished as a book: The Velikovsky Affair. 

During the following years, Alfred went through personal sea changes: his father died; the seven children he had with Jill, entering upon adolescence, encountered a world beset by problems which in secure, upscale Princeton, had never been seen quite that way before: children on drugs, parents dying of alcoholism, growing youth rebelliousness. For a time, he moved his family to “safer” Florence, Italy, where his sister-in-law Anna Maria d’Annunzio, the Poet’s grand-daughter, and his old friend from British Intelligence, master-spy Ian Greenlees, widowed lover of Norman Douglas, were living. The latter was now the Director of the British Institute in Florence. The ferment of cultural rebellion soon spread all over North-America and Europe, not by-passing New York University. Something mighty, disorganized and new was afoot, challenging down to its roots his own generation of WWII veterans, materially the most successful that history had ever known, and to which he had always stood  critically. Teaching a course on “social inventions,” he found himself at the forefront of these deep cultural and societal changes.

American society was further whipped up by opposition to the Vietnam War. He went on missions to Vietnam on behalf of the government and of the White House of President Lyndon Johnson, at a high-ranking level (assimilated to a general), to give advice to the American military forces on the psychological handling of the situation in Vietnam, and advocated their withdrawal. He continued his missions after the election of Richard Nixon. He was still enough a member of the establishment then to be asked by Nixon’s staff what job he would consider taking on in a new administration and he answered: Secretary of the Defense. But he had already started reflecting on the necessity of thorough political and societal changes, and started writing Kalos: What Is To Be Done with Our World? a treatise for the utopic times ahead. 

He created an experimental college in the Swiss Alps, near Sion, in Valais, the Université du Nouveau Monde - University of the New World. This experiment represented the peak of his action for advancing a new political order, and consumated his break with the establishment, scientific, aademic and political. The experiment itself was a resounding failure, for numerous reasons, but most of all, it was it was doomed by a devastating reevaluation of the Swiss Franc in 1970, which made the experiment financially untenable. The site KalosCOsmos will present in time the revolutionary educational views of the experimental college of the University of the New World and its history.
He divorced Jill Oppenheim by mutual agreement in 1970 and they both remained friends until her death in 1996. He remarried briefly with Nina Mavridis, a Bulgarian-Greek refugee and political scientist (1971-1973).

On a parallel course, Alfred got himself involved more deeply with the work of Immanuel Velikosvky and with his own rapidly developing ideas in the same fields. In 1977, he took an early retirement from New York University, keeping his apartment and an office there, and started spending several months a year in a primitive cottage without water and eletricity or telephone, which he had built on the promontory of Stelida, on the Cycladic island of Naxos, writing. That same year, he met Anne-Marie Hueber (Ami), a French writer in her twenties, who had already published a novel and received an award from the French Academy, and who was to be his life-companion for the next thirty-seven years, until his death. 

He worked in Washington with the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote 1001 Questions on Cultural Policy, while developing the concept of Quantavolution, the theory of sudden, fast, wide-spread and irreversible change affecting our world, from the cosmos to geology to human nature, psychology and history, and which stood in diametrical opposition to almost everything as it was still being conceived at the time, as subjected merely to slow and gradual, almost unnoticeable change over eons of time. The first book of the Quantavolution Series, Chaos and Creation was published in India in 1981, the tenth and last book, Cosmic Heretics, which told of his friendship and intellectual involvement with Immanuel Velikovsky and his movement, was published in New York in 1984. All ten books were published by Metron Publications, which he had founded in 1958 to publish the ABS, with the dedicated help of Anne-Marie.

  • Alfred de Grazia India 1985
  • Wagh, S.B. Kolpe, unkown, Alfred de Grazia, Bombay 1985
  • Bhopal 1985 Alfred de Grazia in old city
  • Bhopal 1985, Union Carbide worker and Alfred de Grazia

After publication of the ten books, he took on the chemical catastrophe at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, which occured in December 1984, and travelled there with Anne-Marie, and investigated the event with the help of his former student Dr Rashmi Mayur, then India’s foremost environmentalist. He wrote on the spot, in India, A Cloud Over Bhopal: Causes, Consequences and Constructive Solutions, which was published in April 1985 in Bombay. It was the first book published after the tragedy and has remained the seminal work on the Bhopal catastrophe.
He moved to France for several years, to Saignon in the Vaucluse region of Provence, where he started to write the autobiography of the first twenty-five years of his life: The Babe - A Childhood of Boom and Bust in Chicago, Umbilicus Mundi; The Student - at Chicago in Hutchins’ Hey-days; The Taste of War - Soldiering in World War II. As well as a true-life story about the rocambolesque involvements of a friend with Soviet spies in Switzerland: The Venus-Spy Trap.

He moved back to Princeton and started work on an ambitious Encyclopaedia of Quantavolution with Earl R. Milton who moved there from Canada in 1990. 

He then took on another mammoth project, America’s History Retold, his own coming to terms with the history of the United States, which he wrote in epic form, in three volumes, totalling over 1600 pages. He also wrote a number of short plays, and continued writing poetry. His second volume of poetry, Twentieth-Century Fire-Sale, was published in Princeton in 1996.

In 2000, after the premature death of Earl R. Milton, he took up work again with Anne-Marie on an Encyclopaedia of Quantavolution. In 2002, aged 83, he moved with her to the University of Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, where he led a small, tentative institute for Quantavolution, with the help of the Mainwaring Archive Institute, over the following years. He published his last book on Quantavolution: The Iron Age of Mars - Speculations on a Quantavolution, in 2006-2009.  Two of his plays were turned into movies in Italy (in Italian language): La Rocca di Sisifo (The Rock of Sysiphus) and Il Gene della Speranza (The Gene of Hope).

Alfred de Grazia, Vladimir Damgov, Anne-Marie de Grazia Ami de Grazia

In Bergamo, 2004, with Vladimir Damgov and Anne-Marie

  • Alfred de Grazia, April Naxos 2009
  • Alfred de Grazia, April 2009
  • Alfred de Grazia, April, 2009

In Naxos, April 2009

In 2007, always in the forefront of new developments, he went to Kharkov, Ukraine, to have stem-cell injections at the Institute of Cryo-biology. That same year, he and Anne-Marie moved to France, to a house in the countryside 135km SW of Paris, near La Ferté-Bernard. A series of Conferences on Quantavolution followed, in Kandersteg, Switzerland (2007-2009), in Paris (2008), in their village of Villaines-la-Gonais (2010), in Athens (2011) and Naxos (2012), as well as a conference on his long-running project of living archives, in 2011 at Villaines-la-Gonais. 
In 2013, he undertook a long postponed, first trip to Russia, to see his scientist friends there. In 2014, he was made a Chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur, the highest French distinction, for his activities on behalf of France in World War II. He died a few months later, suddenly, on July 13th and received patriotic honors at his funeral. Weeks after his death, he was made a Distinguished Member of the Regiment (DMOR), the highest distinction at the level of the Regiment, of the Psychological Operations Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Anne-Marie accepted the award in his name in a ceremony at Fort Bragg on November 30. One month to the day after his death, incredibly, it became known that traces of Neanderthal settlements, putting into question all accepted theories about the spread of Neanderthal populations in the Middle-East and in Europe, had been discovered around his cottage, on his beloved Stelida Mountain, on his very property on the island of Naxos, in Greece... Even traces of Homo erectus were found... His promontory of Stelida had been, for reason still unknown, a magnet for hominid settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean... 

  • Alfred de Grazia, Kandersteg 2007
  • Alfred & Anne-Marie de Grazia Civitella delle Chiana 2011
  • Anne-Marie de Grazia 2012
  • Alfred de Grazia, Kharkov, Urkaine 2007
  • Alfred de Grazia, Naxos, Greece, April 2009
  • Alfred de Grazia December 29, 2011, Villaines-la-Gonais
  • Alfred de Grazia Vladimir Pudov Protva Russia 2013
2014, Légion d'honneur, with Ambassador, Conseiller d'Etat Honoraire Philippe Richer

Alfred de Grazia's funeral July 18, 2014, at Villaines-la-Gonais


Stelida, Greece, Neandertal digs (pic Richard Stern)

University of McMaster (ONT) palaeontology team digging for Neandertal tools in Alfred's garden on Stelida, Naxos, Greece.

General Eric Wendt, Anne-Marie de Grazia, DMOR ceremony for Alfred de Grazia, Fort Bragg, October 31, 2014

On October 31st, 2014, Alfred was made a Distinguished Member of the Psychological Operations Regiment at Fort Bragg in North Carolina for his pioneering work in World War II.  

The Works of Alfred de Grazia

Books in Political Science

Michels, Roberto, First lectures in political sociology. Translated, with an introduction, by Alfred de Grazia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, [1949]. And Harper & Row, 1965.

Public and Republic: political representation in America. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1951.

The Elements of Political Science Series: Borzoi Books in Political Science. New York: Knopf, 1952. And second revised edition: Politics and Government: the elements of political science Vol 1: Political Behavior and Vol. 2: Political Organization. [1962]. New York: Collier, 1962– . And new revised edition, New York: Free Press London: Collier Macmillan, 1965.

The Western Public: 1952 and beyond. A study of political behaviour in the Western United States. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1954.

The American Way of Government. National edition. New York : Wiley, 1957. There is also a "National, State and Local edition".

Foundation for Voluntary Welfare Grass Roots, Private Welfare : winning essays of the 1956 national awards competition of the Foundation for Voluntary Welfare. Alfred de Grazia, editor. New York: New York University Press, 1957.

American Welfare. New York: New York University Press, 1961 (with Ted Gurr).

World Politics: a study in International Relations. Series: College Outline Series. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1962.

Apportionment and Representative Government. Series: Books that matter. New York : Praeger, c1963

Essay on Apportionment and Representative Government. Washington : American Enterprise Institute, 1963

Revolution in teaching: new theory, technology, and curricula. With an introduction by Jerome Bruner. New York: Bantam Books, [1964] (Editor, with David A. Sohn).

Universal Reference System. Political science, government, and public policy: an annotated and intensively indexed compilation of significant books, pamphlets, and articles, selected and processed by the Universal Reference System. Prepared under the direction of Alfred De Grazia, general editor, Carl E. Martinson, managing editor, and John B. Simeone, consultant. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Research Pub. Co., 1965–69. ''Plus'' nine more volumes on the subjects of: International Affairs;'Economic Regulation; Public Policy and the Management of Science; Administrative Management; Comparative Government and Cultures; Legislative Process; Bibliography of Bibliographies in Political Science, Government and Public Policy; Current Events and Problems of Modern Society; Public Opinion, Mass Behavior and Political Psychology; Law, Jurisprudence and Judicial Process.

Republic in Crisis: Congress against the executive force. New York: Federal Legal Publications, [1965].

Political Behavior. Series: Elements of political science; 1. New, revised edition. New York: Free press paperback, 1966.

Congress, The First Branch of Government, editor, Doubleday – Anchor Books, 1967.

Congress and the Presidency: Their Roles in Modern Times, with Arthur M. Schlesinger, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, 1967.

The Behavioral Sciences: Essays in honor of George A. Lundberg, editor, Behavioral Research Council, Great Barrington, Mass;, 1968.

Old Government, New People: Readings for the New politics, et al., Scott, Foresman, Glenview, Ill., 1971.

Politics for Better or Worse, Scott, Foresman, Glenview, Ill., 1973.

Eight Branches of Government: American Government Today, w. Eric Weise, Collegiate Pub., 1975.

Eight Bads – Eight Goods: The American Contradictions, Doubleday – Anchor Books, 1975.

Supporting Art and Culture: 1001 Questions on Policy, Lieber-Atherton, New York, 1979.

A Cloud Over Bhopal: Causes, Consequences, and Constructive Solutions, Kalos Foundation for the India-America Committee for the Bhopal Victims: Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1985.

The American State of Canaan – the peaceful, prosperous juncture of Israel and Palestine as the 51st State of the United States of America, Metron Publications, Princeton, NJ, 2009 LCCN 2008945276.

The Quantavolution Series

(all by Metron Publications, Princeton, NJ.)

Chaos and Creation, (1981)

The Lately Tortured Earth, (1982)

Homo Schizo I. (1982)

Homo Schizo II. (1982)

The Divine Succession, (1982)

The Disastrous Love Affair of Moon and Mars, (1983)

Solaria Binaria, (with E. R. Milton), (1983)

The Burning of Troy, (1984)

Cosmic Heretics, (1984)

The Iron Age of Mars, (2009)

American History

America's History Retold: Conquest, Colonialism and Constitutions  (1997, 2011)

America's History Retold: Originating American Ways of Living and Working (1997, 2011)

America's History Retold: Shaping Earth's Cultures and Powers (1997, 2011)

Autobiography, Poetry, etc.

The Venus Spy-Trap, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1989.

The Babe, Child of Boom and Bust in Old Chicago, umbilicus mundi,
 Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1992.

The Student: at Chicago in Hutchin's Hey-day, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton N.J., 1991.

A Taste of War: Soldiering in World War II, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1992 & 2011.

Passage of the Year, Poetry, Quiddity Press, Metron publications, Princeton, N.J., 1967.

Twentieth Century Fire-Sale, Poetry, Quiddity Press, Metron Publications, Princeton, N.J., 1996.


La Roccia di Sisifo, directed by Pilar Latini, Bergamo, 2004.

Il Gene della Speranza, directed by Kinokitchen, Pisa, 2006.