Fifty years after the first publication of Charles Wright Mills’ The Power Elite (1956), certainly one of the most important works in American political and social sciences, the essay offers a retrospective about its fortune in western culture. Widely discussed by leading sociologists such as Dahl, Parsons, Bell and Sweezy, The Power Elite greatly contributed to the debate between elitism and pluralism in the Fifties and the Sixties and influenced also the New Left movement, particularly SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). Then, from the end of the Seventies to the mid-Eighties, the analysis of Mills’ papers and unpublished writings gave new impulses to the study of his works. After a quite long period of sharp indifference, the new contributes of the last years show a return of interest in his work and in Mills’ ability in revealing (to reveal?) the contradictions of the American dream.