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Posted March 15, 2012
Whether one agrees with Judt or not, this book is a monument to
Whether one agrees with Judt or not, this book is a monument to his determination to think for himself, against the grain, even if inviting criticism from those wanting different answers, more loyalty, or grander theories. His book-length conversation (before he died of ALS) with fellow historian Timothy Snyder interweaves the events of the past century with Judt’s own wonderfully told reminiscences and intellectual journey away from –isms (Zionism, communism) towards a more pluralistic ethics and politics. Judt’s observations on European and American history are quick witted, if sometimes acerbic, and lovely for their attentiveness to the small things that change an era (trains and public buses!). Perhaps this book will resonant more with readers familiar with Judt’s work. Regardless, he bequeaths us this conversation about how we reinterpret the past in light of a public responsibility “not to imagine better worlds but rather to think how to prevent worse ones.”
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Posted February 27, 2012
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