The book’s title of “taking it big” refers to Mills’s admonition to his students to grapple with the larger problems of contemporary significance; and Aronowitz takes it big in considering Mills’ notions of political and social power and the prospects for radical social transformation. Accordingly, we learn of Mills’ insider-outsider relationship with the New York intellectuals of the postwar period—Dwight Macdonald, Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, Irving Howe, Sydney Hook—most of whom were obsessed with the “Russian question” and eventually moved to the Right. The book discusses Mills’ relentless pursuit throughout his life of agents of democratic change; first with labor leaders, later with cultural workers of various kinds, and finally, toward the end of his life, with the students of the New Left.