Customer Reviews for

Ill Fares the Land

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    Ill Fares The Land Tony Judt

    This is a book all persons interested in the future should read and , if possible, discuss with others.
    Early he states, "One of my goals is to suggest that government can play an enhanced role in our lives without threatening our liberties- and argue that, since the state is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, we would do well to think about the sort of state we want."
    Tony Judt has a rearkable ability to condense history into readable passages. Nevertheless, although it is a relatively small book, it requires time to reflect upon and often to reread many pages. His observations historically, politically and economic include mostly European countries and the United States, although other countries are also included.
    In his "Conclusion" he recalls, after deliverng a lecture in New York in 2009,a twelve year old boy posing a question , which in effect said, in any debate when the word "socialism" is raised, the debate is derailed and how can the conversation be resumed.
    In answer Judt proposes two possibilities. One, set aside socialism, acknowedging that the idea has been polluted by association with 20th century dictatorships. He warns that although this method is simple it is subject to the charge of hypocracy.Second, the more positive method, is to discriminate between "socialism" and "social Democracy". The latter is a compromise, accepting capitalism and "parliamentary democracy" (legislative) as the "framework within which the hitherto neglected interests of large sections of the populations would now be addrssed."
    Near the end of his book he brings to or attention a significant statment of Edund Burke. "Society is a partnership not only between those who are living but betwee those who are living,those who are dead and those who are to be born." A call to remember history, consider the best of the present but be mindful of those whose future will depend upon our decisions today.
    A book well worth reading for the broad picture.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Valedictory Book Caps Historian's Career

    Tony Judt is an excellent historian of post-WWII Europe and a close observer of the U.S. in many New York Review of Books pieces. He has written a probing book that examines the decline of democracy in the West and thoughtfully rebuilds a path back to fully democratic societies. The book is short, but small sections demand serious reflection on the reader's part, so it takes time and energy to get the full import of what Judt has written.

    This is his final book, as he has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and is declining. The book is Tony Judt's gift to thoughtful citizens everywhere.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    Very readable - immediately engrossing. Important message for Americans at this time. Excellent.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    I adore this book...

    This is tops in clearly explaining how we got to where we are.My slant on this is, ideas are powerful, and confused ideas maybe even more so; send this book to all those "economists" who think their theology insisting upon unfettered capitalism and destroying among us the sense of community and solidarity makes sense. Better, make it recommended high school and first year college reading! I can't possibly state the arguments Tony made so powerfully here, in his last months of life. A beautiful letter to the young and old, showing a way forward for civilisation. As another gifted Tony (Kushner) said in one of his plays, when we look back on the eras of the past, it's not the lives of the rich that were beautiful --and surely not the lives of the poor either -- what was beautiful were the dreams of the Left. Postwar Europe and the US had a working consensus on providing basic needs of the poor and vulnerable, with accompanying taxation and restraint and regulation of capital; that consensus has been entirely lost at this time. My slant on this: We can now forge a new consensus creating a more decent society. To be human is ONLY to be in community. Must your in-group only be the very wealthy? How can we survive as human without democratic inclusion of all of us? How can our planet be made sustainable and livable without the best talents of all, in a compassionate and just society?

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