The 80th anniversary of the birth of Douglas Fitzgerald Dowd was in December 1999. His long and distinguished career has been characterized by a fruitful marriage of scholarship and activism. Firmly on the political Left, Dowd belongs within an indigenous American tradition of dissenting radicalism whose most famous - perhaps notorious - representatives are Thorstein Veblen and C. Wright Mills. Taking care neither to "mumble" like the former nor "shout" like the latter, Dowd has been an articulate and persistent critic of the American experience for more than 40 years, engaging both students and the wider public. In 1997, he published his semiautobiographical economic history of twentieth-century America [Dowd 1997a]. It exemplifies Dowd`s scholarly engagement in public life, meshing together the personal, the professional, and the political.