The decade extending from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s in the career of the American historian Richard Hofstadter (1916–70) was marked by a series of engagements with American right-wing politics. This article seeks to re-evaluate the evolution of Hofstadter's thinking over this decade, in part by drawing upon the recently discovered transcript of a BBC radio lecture that Hofstadter recorded in 1959 and that represents the first occasion on which he developed the notion of a "paranoid style" as a pattern of thought and action recurring through American political history.