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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 ï¿½cole Normale Supï¿½rieure, Paris, and also taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. 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 journals across Europe and the United States. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Thinking the Twentieth Century, The Memory Chalet, 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.
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 Books and the New Republic), Judt, whose recent book Postwar was 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 2008 Reed Business Information.
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, Bryn Mawr Coll., PA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"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