This is a detailed social history of North American linguistic traditions and "revolutionary" challenges to them, covering the last century and a half. In particular, the book traces the relatively recent growth of generative syntax out of neo-Bloomfieldian structuralism, under the nurturing (contrary to popular myth) of powerful "gatekeepers" like LANGUAGE editor Bernard Bloch. Although focusing on groups, Murray resurrects many of the forgotten writers on language in society who were not participants in schools or theory groups. Moreover, he formulates a theory of the social basis for claims of "scientific revolution", and provides a suggestive analysis of why some approaches succeeded while others failed in the continuing and often rhetorically violent contention in linguistics. Includes a 74-page bibliography.