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The Memory Chalet


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A collection of stirring, poignant personal essays from tony Judt, one of our leading historians

About the Author

Tony Judt was educated at King's College, Cambridge and the cole Normale Superieure, Paris, and taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. He was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University; in addition to Director of the Remarque Institute, which is dedicated to the study of Europe and which he founded in 1995. The author or editor of fourteen books, Professor Judt was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Republic, the New York Times and many other journals in Europe and the US. Professor Judt is the author of Ill Fares the Land, Reappraisals- 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.


In 2008, historian Tony Judt (Ill Fares the Land) was handed a death sentence. Lou Gehrig's disease would progressively deprive him of mobility, leaving him encased in the prison of a hostile body, robbing him of the life he'd led with such grace. Unable to continue with research-requiring assistance even to breathe-Judt was forced back on the one source of historical data still accessible to him, his memories. To "store" them, he resorted to the classic mnemonic technique of the memory palace, housing recollections in the rooms of a Swiss chalet he'd visited as a child. In these separate essays, most of them originally published in the New York Review of Books, he details his life and preoccupations in short, poignant sketches: childhood food, riding buses across London, his father's love affair with Citroens and his own with trains, working on a kibbutz (and hating it)-in a stunningly effective blend of the personal and political. Verdict Elegiac and thought-provoking, these essays provide a final glimpse of a first-rate historical intelligence. Tony Judt died in August 2010 at the age of 62. He was a mensch. This is one of the best books of the year.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

A book to treasure...The chambers of his memory chalet will live on long after him: witty, profound, controversial...for they tell you, more clearly than any work of imagination, what the last few months of life are like. In a sense, you learn how to die yourself...Wonderfully written...He has the natural essayist's ability to riff on a diverting theme...Through these pages, he emerges as a wellspring of enlightenment you need to spend time with...A slim volume that oscillates constantly between brilliance and exasperation and love. He has the eye for detail of a historian, and the empathy of a human being...Will move, educate and perhaps inspire for many years. This chalet is built of stone, on the firmest foundations. -- Peter Preston * Observer *
Tony Judt, had a wonderful prose style, and his little book The Memory Chalet, a collection of autobiographical essays, is beautiful and moving. Although Judt, who suffered from motor neurone disease, died earlier this year, this late work is more sustaining than sad. -- John Banville * Guardian, Books of the Year *
My book of the year is the volume of essays, The Memory Chalet, many of which were written as he was dying of motor neurone disease and were published originally in The New York Review of Books. Judt was one of the finest historians of the past half-century and a brilliant memoirist and essayist. -- Chris Patten * Financial Times, Books of the Year *
In examining his past, Judt has managed to write what amounts to a Bildungsroman of one of the most distinctive writerly personas of the age. At the same time, he has told us something important about ourselves: about what we were and what we have become. -- Jonathan Derbyshire * New Statesman *
I've been deeply moved by Tony Judt's reminiscence-in-essays. -- Claire Messud * Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year *

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