Desolation and Enlightenment: Political Knowledge After Total War, Totalitarianism, and the Holocaust [NOOK Book]

Overview


During and especially after the Second World War, a group of leading scholars who had been perilously close to the war's devastation joined others fortunate enough to have been protected by distance in an effort to redefine and reinvigorate Western liberal ideals for a radically new age. Treating evil as an analytical category, they sought to discover the sources of twentieth-century horror and the potentialities of the modern state in the wake of western desolation. In the process, they devised strikingly new ...
See more details below
Desolation and Enlightenment: Political Knowledge After Total War, Totalitarianism, and the Holocaust

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$27.99 List Price

Overview


During and especially after the Second World War, a group of leading scholars who had been perilously close to the war's devastation joined others fortunate enough to have been protected by distance in an effort to redefine and reinvigorate Western liberal ideals for a radically new age. Treating evil as an analytical category, they sought to discover the sources of twentieth-century horror and the potentialities of the modern state in the wake of western desolation. In the process, they devised strikingly new ways to understand politics, sociology and history that reverberate still. In this major intellectual history, Ira Katznelson examines the works of Hannah Arendt, Robert Dahl, Richard Hofstadter, Harold Lasswell, Charles Lindblom, Karl Polanyi, and David Truman, detailing their engagement with the larger project of reclaiming the West's moral bearing.

In light of their epoch's calamities these intellectuals insisted that the tradition of Enlightenment thought required a new realism, a good deal of renovation, and much recommitment. This array of historians, political philosophers, and social scientists understood that a simple reassertion of liberal modernism had been made radically insufficient by the enormities and moral catastrophes of war, totalitarianism, and holocaust. Confronting their period's dashed hopes for reason and knowledge, they asked not just whether the Enlightenment should define modernity, but which Enlightenment we should wish to have. Decades later, in the midst of a new type of war and reanimated discussions of the concept of evil, we share no small stake in assessing their successes and limitations.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
The horrors that culminated in the 1940s — world war, totalitarianism, and the Holocaust — dealt a severe blow to Western society's faith in the Enlightenment, rationality, and human progress. In this masterful excursion into the history of ideas, Katznelson explores how a "reconstructionist" generation of political scholars has since attempted to make sense of these dark times and rethink the bases of political theory and liberal community. The book is organized around a sequence of intellectual portraits. Hannah Arendt's treatise on totalitarianism and Karl Polanyi's analysis of the geopolitical structures of the liberal international order offered new insights into large-scale historical change. David Truman and Richard Hofstadter searched for ways to reconcile liberal democracy with the new modern state. Harold Lassell, Robert Dahl, and Charles Lindblom pioneered policy studies that sought to harness technological advances for larger social ends. Katznelson contends that these intrepid intellectuals were united in their determination to maneuver between nihilism and absolutism while preserving their ideals in an age of global catastrophe. Although the book was written largely before the attacks of September 11, 2001, it speaks powerfully to today's struggles to reconcile liberal values with a new threat of violence.
Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

Katznelson's book is well written, a clear yet crystalline, multifaceted examination of the plight of Enlightenment thought.

Foreign Affairs - G. John Ikenberry

In this masterful excursion into the history of ideas, Katznelson explores how a 'reconstructionist' generation of political scholars has since attempted to make sense of these dark times and rethink the bases of political theory and liberal community... Although the book was written largely before the attacks of September 11, 2001, it speaks powerfully to today's struggles to reconcile liberal values with a new threat of violence.

Antioch Review - Maurice Meilleur

Katznelson's book remarkably (re)describes post-World War II American political studies... This is an important book.

European Journal of Social Theory - Kamila Stullerova

Katznelson's book is an excellent study of one episode in the history of social sciences, an episode that is by no means interesting only to historians. Historical institutionalism is still a very productive approach and Desolation and Enlightenment helps to identify the strengths and limitations of this approach that may be hidden to its contemporary advocates and critics... Katznelson's work shows how real the dilemmas of the political studies enlightenment group are to all of us.

Foreign Affairs
In this masterful excursion into the history of ideas, Katznelson explores how a 'reconstructionist' generation of political scholars has since attempted to make sense of these dark times and rethink the bases of political theory and liberal community... Although the book was written largely before the attacks of September 11, 2001, it speaks powerfully to today's struggles to reconcile liberal values with a new threat of violence.

— G. John Ikenberry

Antioch Review
Katznelson's book remarkably (re)describes post-World War II American political studies... This is an important book.

— Maurice Meilleur

European Journal of Social Theory
Katznelson's book is an excellent study of one episode in the history of social sciences, an episode that is by no means interesting only to historians. Historical institutionalism is still a very productive approach and Desolation and Enlightenment helps to identify the strengths and limitations of this approach that may be hidden to its contemporary advocates and critics... Katznelson's work shows how real the dilemmas of the political studies enlightenment group are to all of us.

— Kamila Stullerova

Ethics & International Affairs

Desolation and Enlightenment is a passionate call to arms.... [Katznelson's] book provides inspiration and considerable guidance for anyone who believes in the social responsibilities of intellectuals.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231507424
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2003
  • Series: Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ira Katznelson

Ira Katznelson is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University. He is the author of many books, including Marxism and the City and the award-winning Liberalism's Crooked Circle: Letters to Adam Michnik. He has served as president of the Social Science History Association and of the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Beyond the Common Measure 1
2 The Origins of Dark Times 47
3 A Seminar on the State 107
4 A New Objectivity 153
Index 177
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)