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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn / Edition 200

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Overview

In Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Daniel Mahoney presents a philosophical perspective on the political condition of modern man through an exegesis and analysis of Solzhenitsyn's work. Mahoney demonstrates the tremendous, yet often unappreciated, impact of Solzhenitsyn's writing on twentieth century thinking through an examination of the writer's profoundly important critique of communist totalitarianism in a judicious and original mix of western and Russian, Christian and classical wisdom.
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Editorial Reviews

Edward E. Ericson
In the natural progression of the ripening of Solzhenitsyn criticism, what has been needed is a book by a political theorist who is at home in the vocabulary of political philosophy and fully familiar with the categories and concepts of that field. Daniel Mahoney fills this niche and his study advances Solzhenitsyn criticism not by small or even medium sized increments, but by a quantum leap forward. Mahoney's book will stand as the book on Solzhenitsyn's politics, precisely because it does not treat politics as a self-contained and free-standing entity, i.e. it does not tear the politics out of the overarching moral vision. This book is simply superb.
Michael Novak
Everything Daniel Mahoney writes is worth reading and this book, in particular, shows how Solzhenitsyn's vision is even more relevant today than it was in the dark days of the Soviet Occupation.
Pierre Manent
Through its penetrating and comprehensive assessment of Solzhenitsyn's significance, Professor Mahoney's book is a lesson in human greatness as well as a powerful contribution to our understanding of modern tyranny.
James F. Pontuso
In an age of uninhibited materialism and crass popular culture, where the demands of the fast-paced 'information age' make us so busy we can entirely forget the spiritual realm, Mahoney's book on Solzhenitsyn is a refreshment for the soul. It reminds us that the most important possession of our time on earth is our character, and our character cannot be properly tended unless we allow it to pursue its longing for the true and eternal.
Delba Winthrop
Even before Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn confessed that in his years of exile in the United States he had not taken up our habit of 'chatting at filling stations,' Americans had decided to disdain him. He was some sort of autocrat or authoritarian, a theocrat, a self-ordained prophet, not to mention an ingrate who had unkind things to say about America and other western nations. If Daniel Mahoney’s book does not cause us to rethink our opinions about Solzhenitsyn, it’s hard to imagine what could. Mahoney’s open-minded and manifestly intelligent analysis of a wide array of his writings shows Solzhenitsyn to be an ardent, albeit measured and reasoned defender of constitutionalism and democratic freedom. He is also, as Mahoney puts it, 'a postmodern foundationalist,' a thoughtful man who did not begin a Christian, but whose experience and reflections on human nature—his 'anthropological conclusions'—led him to its embrace. Not ignorance of the West, of its politics and way of life and of its philosophic underpinnings, but precisely a profound understanding of these enables Mahoney’s Solzhenitsyn to speak to the mind and heart of every human being.
George Weigel
Solzhenitsyn's literary genius as a chronicler of the totalitarian past is universally recognized. Daniel Mahoney persuasively suggests that the great Russian witness and writer is also a serious political philosopher with important things to say about the democratic future.
Alexis Klimoff
Mahoney offers a splendid and always reliable analysis of the political, philosophical, and moral dimensions of Solzhenitsyn's writings which demonstrates that contrary to widespread journalistic assumptions, Solzhenitsyn is deeply indebted to a long line of classic thinkers going all the way back to Plato and Aristotle.
First Things - Robert P. Kraynak
Mahoney provides the most fair-minded and attractive account of Solzhenitsyn's political thought to date.
Jay Nordlinger
Mahoney understands Solzhenitsyn as very few do, and he orients the great writer for us all. This is a book that should destroy the myth of Solzhenitsyn as an autocrat, a theocrat, a right-winger, etc. And it is as exquisitely written as it is conceived. A real pearl of a volume.
Sunday Telegraph - Anthony Daniels
A much-needed meditation on the limit of politics, through a study of the writings of Solzhenitsyn.
Perspectives on Political Science
Solzhenitsyn presents quite a challenge to anyone attempting a comprehensive assessment of his thought. Daniel Mahoney meets the challenge squarely in his excellent new book.
Edward E. Ericson Jr.
In the natural progression of the ripening of Solzhenitsyn criticism, what has been needed is a book by a political theorist who is at home in the vocabulary of political philosophy and fully familiar with the categories and concepts of that field. Daniel Mahoney fills this niche and his study advances Solzhenitsyn criticism not by small or even medium sized increments, but by a quantum leap forward. Mahoney's book will stand as the book on Solzhenitsyn's politics, precisely because it does not treat politics as a self-contained and free-standing entity, i.e. it does not tear the politics out of the overarching moral vision. This book is simply superb.
National Review
Excellent new book.
Foreign Affairs
Mahoney reintroduces Solzhenitsyn as a political thinker who deserves to be included in the ranks of Raymond Aron, Jacques Maritain, Martin Buber, and John Dewey, among others.
First Things
Mahoney provides the most fair-minded and attractive account of Solzhenitsyn's political thought to date.
— Robert P. Kraynak
American Enterprise
Mahoney has written the book about the politics of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
American Political Science Review
This very remarkable and most timely book differs from others on Solzhenitsyn by highlighting his 'critique of ideology' and his 'recovery of the 'natural world.' Mahoney's exceptionally penetrating, wonderfully judcious, and always accessible analysis is on the cutting edge of thought today.
Perspectives On Political Science
Solzhenitsyn presents quite a challenge to anyone attempting a comprehensive assessment of his thought. Daniel Mahoney meets the challenge squarely in his excellent new book.
Sunday Telegraph
A much-needed meditation on the limit of politics, through a study of the writings of Solzhenitsyn.
— Anthony Daniels
Modern Age
By allowing Solzhenitsyn to speak above the din of those who dismiss him, Mahoney has given us a great gift. His interpretations of Solzhenitsyn's speeches, essays, and books are especially incisive in recognizing Solzhenitsyn's significane for political philosophy, and political philosophy's postmodern task of grappling with ideological evil.
Edward E. Ericson
In the natural progression of the ripening of Solzhenitsyn criticism, what has been needed is a book by a political theorist who is at home in the vocabulary of political philosophy and fully familiar with the categories and concepts of that field. Daniel Mahoney fills this niche and his study advances Sozhenitsyn criticism not by small or even medium sized increments, but by a quantum leap forward. Mahoney's book will stand as the book on Solzhenitsyn's politics, precisely because it does not treat politics as a self-contained and free-standing entity, i.e. it does not tear the politics out of the overarching moral vision. This book is simply superb..
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742521131
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Twentieth Century Political Thinkers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 200
  • Pages: 198
  • Sales rank: 810,465
  • Product dimensions: 0.45 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Mahoney is associate professor of political science at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. His previous books have dealt with Raymond Aron, Charles de Gaulle, Pierre Manent, and Aurel Kolnai. In 1999 he was awarded the prestigious Prix Aron.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introductory Note: Taking Solzhenitsyn Seriously Chapter 2 The One True Progress: Solzhenitsyn's Alternative to Modern Liberalism Chapter 3 The Experience of Totalitarianism and the Recovery of Nature Chapter 4 True and False Liberalism: Stolypin and His Enemies in August 1914 Chapter 5 The Ascent from Modernity:"Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations" Chapter 6 The Physiognomy of Liberty: Solzhenitsyn's "Tocquevillian" Defense of Local Self-Government Chapter 7 Concluding Reflection: The Soul between Politics and Eternity
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    What The New York Times won't tell you about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    When he is remembered and mentioned today, Solzhenitsyn most often is said to be a courageous "anti-Communist." Then, continues the line of thought, since communism no longer is around (itself not quite an accurate statement), Solzhenitsyn's relevance too is gone. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Daniel J. Mahoney amply demonstrates in his learned, penetrating, and genuinely exciting book on Solzhenitsyn. Mahoney reminds us of the core of Solzhenisyn's critique of Marxist-Leninist ideology: the latter's "anthropocentric humanism," its dream and project of establishing a perfect human world devoid of suffering, conflict - and conscience and the inner need for the human soul to confront its spiritual nature, its imperfections, and its fate before eternity. Solzhenitsyn never forgets the soul and its personal responsibility for itself and the world and he would not let Communists and their fellow travellers, either. This standard, of course, is not merely 'Russian,' nor is it simply applicable to one ruthless ideology and the regime that embodied it. Solzhenitsyn was true to it, and to himself, by applying it to "the West" in his famous Harvard Address. From this event dates the ebbing of Solzhenitsyn's prestige in America, especially among the liberal intelligensia, who henceforth took it upon themselves to misrepresent, willfully and systematically, his views about man, politics, modernity, and Russia. Mahoney has done yeoman's work in dispelling all the myths about the man and his thought, by the most old-fashioned - and convincing - of means: actually reading Solzhenitsyn and analyzing his texts. What's revealed is a man of profound insight into the human soul, and of profound political moderation - the furthest thing from the Tsarist, autocratic, Slavophile of legend. I leave the discovery of the true Solzhnitsyn to the fortunate reader of this book (which in no way is hagiography). After reading this book, one will once again be convinced of the value of genuine scholarship, and the fundamental distinction between it and propaganda, especially of the sort purveyed by eminent "progressive" organs.

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