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Thinking the Twentieth Century: Intellectuals and Politics in the… (edition 2012)

by Tony Judt, Timothy Snyder

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266942,770 (4.03)7
Member:tim86
Title:Thinking the Twentieth Century: Intellectuals and Politics in the Twentieth Century
Authors:Tony Judt
Other authors:Timothy Snyder
Info:William Heinemann (2012), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:history

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Thinking the Twentieth Century: Intellectuals and Politics in the Twentieth Century by Tony Judt

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Before his death from ALS, Tony Judt unexpectedly blossomed into an intellectual titan: penning a history of post-WWII Europe, writing essays for the New York Review of Books, and collecting reminiscences of his lifetime. And just as luckily for us, all of those found print—Europe in the critically-acclaimed Postwar, his last essays in Ill Fares the Land, and his memoir in The Memory Chalet.

Yet Thinking the Twentieth Century is an altogether stranger beast: Judt's last work, which by necessity took the form of a conversation between himself and fellow-historian Timothy Snyder. Interspersed with Judt's own remembrances of his personal/professional trajectory and other topics, he and Snyder begin to trace how exactly liberalism won out over totalitarianism—first in the form of fascism, and then in the long grind against communism. This victory was by no means assured, and seemed impossible at points in the 30s and 40s. Yet it happened, and they tease out how exactly that victory was won.

It's not a book for everyone to be sure, and you'd be better-served tackling one of Judt's other more traditional works first. But it's a marvelous chronicle of a mind at work, and sadly the last one we'll get. ( )
  gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
A pleasant journey through the delusional world of the intellectual mind, replete with straw men, ad hominem attacks, and hackneyed economic theory. A good case of Bush Derangement Syndrome adds a bit of humor to an otherwise waste of reading time. ( )
  4bonasa | May 4, 2013 |
Babelia's Book of the Year (2012)
  beabatllori | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is a dense, yet conversational view of the history of the 20th century and the modern world. Judt relates a personal story of his childhood and early life, and then uses this as a background for a broad historical view of the circumstances which shaped and defined modern Europe. Snyder, a fine historian in his own right, acts as a good counterpoint in this dialogue.

These include the actions and reactions of various radical ideologies (Fascism, communism, their differences), the motivations and analysis of various political and economic thinkers (Keynes, Hayek, Lenin), and reactions and descriptions of events as they happened. They cover a lot, and with great detail. The state of Israel, the Hungarian Uprising, Vietnam, a proto-Fascism developing in the United States, and so forth.

I was surprised and saddened to hear that Judt passed away in 2010. I was dazzled by Postwar, his history of Europe post-1945, and was completely unaware of the news. It's heartening, though, to have his legacy go on, and men like Snyder who will come after. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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"Not only academics and fans of Judt, but also those who enjoy the New York Review of Books and The New Yorker will flock to read it. Highly recommended."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, David Keymer (Nov 1, 2011)
 

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Thinking the Twentieth Century maps the issues and concerns of a turbulent age onto a life of intellectual conflict and engagement. Tony Judt presents the triumphs and the failures of prominent intellectuals, adeptly explaining both their ideas and the risks of their political commitments.--[book jacket]… (more)

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