Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century by Tony Judt, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century

Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century

2.7 4
by Tony Judt
     
 
As Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Tony Judt argues persuasively in Reappraisals, we have entered an "age of forgetting." Today's world is so utterly unlike the world of just twenty years ago that we have set aside our immediate past before we could make sense of it. Drawing provocative connections between a dazzling range of subjects, Judt takes us beyond what we

Overview

As Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Tony Judt argues persuasively in Reappraisals, we have entered an "age of forgetting." Today's world is so utterly unlike the world of just twenty years ago that we have set aside our immediate past before we could make sense of it. Drawing provocative connections between a dazzling range of subjects, Judt takes us beyond what we think we know of the past to explain how we came to know it, and shows how much of our history has been sacrificed in the triumph of myth-making over understanding and denial over memory. Reappraisals offers a much-needed road map back to the historical sense we urgently need.

Editorial Reviews

Geoffrey Wheatcroft
…[an] exhilarating new collection of essays…Few are better than Tony Judt, not only a historian of the first rank but (in a word we need an equivalent for) a politicologue who gives engagement a good name.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Historian and political commentator Judt warns against the temptation "to look back upon the twentieth century as an age of political extremes, of tragic mistakes and wrongheaded choices; an age of delusion from which we have now, thankfully, emerged." In this collection of 24 previously printed essays (nearly all from the New York Review of Booksand the New Republic), Judt, whose recent book Postwarwas a Pulitzer finalist, pleads with readers to remember that the past never completely disappears and that the coming century is as fraught with dangers as the last. Buttressing his argument, Judt draws upon an impressively broad array of subjects. He begins by describing the eclipse of intellectuals as a public force (for instance, the steep decline in Arthur Koestler's reputation) before reminding his audience of the immense power of ideas by discussing the now inexplicable attractions of Marxism in the 20th century. In the book's penultimate section, Judt examines the rise of the state in the politics and economics of Western nations before finally tackling the United States, its foreign policy and the fate of liberalism. As a fascinating exploration of the world we have recently lost-for good or bad, or both-this collection, despite its lack of new content, cannot be bested. (Apr. 21)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

A Jewish East Ender by origin, Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945) is the finest, but not least controversial, working historian of 20th-century and current-day Europe. This amorphous collection spans a dozen years of book reviews and essays, each provocative and the least successful still brilliant. A man of liberal and tolerant views, Judt is very hard on Marxism-of all stripes-and on Israel, a land where he once resided and that he palpably loves. That he appears to have been blacklisted from contributing to one influential journal-the New Republic-and targeted for opprobrium by the Anti-Defamation League has not kept him from criticizing official Israeli actions across its 60 years of existence. The essays included here on the Middle East should be read by anyone who cares seriously about the region. Judt is equally penetrating on the current dismal state of industrial England and France, the legacy of Primo Levi, the health of the European Union, and Romania, to mention a few highlights. Unlike many fellow public intellectuals who have anthologized their work, Judt concludes each piece with a follow-up on how it was received and whether he has had second thoughts (which is rare, even for pieces written before 9/11 about Western encounters with Islam). These simple updates provide a genuine value-add. Recommended for serious public affairs collections.
—Scott H. Silverman Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
Scholarly and polemical pieces, most with very sharp edges, published over the past dozen years, generally in the New York Review of Books and the New Republic. Judt (Remarque Institute/NYU; The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century, 1998, etc.) introduces these essays with a jolting jeremiad about the dismal state of American intellectual life: our ignorance of history, our ready submission to fear, our determination to celebrate martial adventures. He arranges the book in a roughly thematic fashion, beginning with analyses of European totalitarianism, the horrors of the Holocaust and the concept of evil, especially as expressed in Hannah Arendt's famous conception of its "banality." He then reconsiders the intellectual lives of some notables: Albert Camus, Louis Althusser (Judt is alarmed that many still take him seriously) and historian Eric Hobsbawm, whose erudition he admires but whose purblindness about Communism he finds confounding. After some hard words for Pope John Paul II (he was obsessed with sex) and some encomiums for Edward Said ("He is irreplaceable"), the author shifts his focus to France, to England (he disdains Tony Blair) and to Belgium, his father's homeland. Judt reprints his controversial essay about the Six-Day War in 1967 and follows it with more chiding of Israel, a country he compares to an unruly, immature teenager. Next come penetrating pieces on the Chambers-Hiss case, the Cuban Missile Crisis (RFK does not come off well; JFK does) and a blast from both rhetorical barrels at Henry Kissinger. Near the end, Judt delivers body blows to Thomas Friedman and other liberals who cheered on the Iraq War and warns that pooreconomies are sustenance for the Far Right. An educative, intelligent voice urges us to attend to history and the life of the mind. Agent: Sarah Chalfant/The Wylie Agency
From the Publisher
"Exhilarating . . . brave and forthright."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Perhaps the greatest single collection of thinking on the political, diplomatic, social, and cultural history of the past century."
-Forbes

"By turns fascinating [and] edifying . . . Judt is one of our foremost historians of Europe, an elegant writer and subtle thinker."
-Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616802950
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
04/17/2008
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Exhilarating . . . brave and forthright."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Perhaps the greatest single collection of thinking on the political, diplomatic, social, and cultural history of the past century."
-Forbes

"By turns fascinating [and] edifying . . . Judt is one of our foremost historians of Europe, an elegant writer and subtle thinker."
-Los Angeles Times

Meet the Author

Tony Judt was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University, as well as the founder and director of the Remarque Institute, dedicated to creating an ongoing conversation between Europe and the United States. He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and also taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. Professor Judt was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement, The New RepublicThe New York Times, and many journals across Europe and the United States. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Thinking the Twentieth CenturyThe Memory ChaletIll Fares the LandReappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which was one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2005, the winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He died in August 2010 at the age of sixty-two.

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