MacArthur Fellows Program

Richard Critchfield

Essayist | Class of December 1981

50 at time of award
December 10, 1994
Published December 1, 1981

About Richard's Work

Richard Critchfield wrote about how cultures respond to changes in science and technology.

Critchfield reported on village life in the Third World for more than a quarter of a century, then, expanded his studies to America and Europe.  His books include a work on Vietnam, The Long Charade (1968); a village trilogy, The Golden Bowl Be Broken (1974), Shahhat (1978), and Villages (1981); his research in Poland, Russia, Java, Mexico, the Philippines, Nepal, China, and India led to his final “village book,” The Villagers: Changed Values, Altered Lives: The Closing of the Urban Rural Gap (1994).  He was also the author of two social histories of rural America: Those Days: An American Album (1986), based on the Critchfield family, and Trees, Why Do You Wait? America’s Changing Rural Culture (1991).  In 1987, the Economist asked him to write its first survey on Great Britain, which resulted in his book, An American Looks at Britain (1990).  He was also the author of When Lucifer Cometh: The Autobiographical Discourse of Writers and Intellectuals Exiled during the Third Reich (1994).


Critchfield was a longstanding contributor to the Economist and many other journals and periodicals.

Critchfield received a B.A. (1953) from the University of Washington and an M.A. (1957) from Columbia University. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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