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Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union,… (original 1981; edition 1990)
by Paul Hollander (Author)
Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society by Paul Hollander (1981)
References to this work on external resources.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195029372, Hardcover)Why have noted Western intellectualsófrom George Bernard Shaw to Jean-Paul Sartre to Susan Sontagóembraced the vision of various "revolutionary" societies, often in their most repressive historical phase, while downgrading (and yet enjoying) the benefits of Western liberal pluralistic political cultures? How have the delusions and dreams of many Western observers of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other socialist states contributed to a moral and political double standard? Paul Hollander explores these crucial questions in a remarkable study of travel reports on socialist countries written by Western visitors. Observing that political pilgrims represent a tradition of seeking alternatives to flawed social arrangements at home, Hollander also suggests that underlying these visits is a quest for meaning, purpose, and sense of community that intellectuals feel increasingly deprived of in secular and individualistic societies in the West. Political Pilgrims, listed among "The Notable Books of the Year" in the New York Times Book Review, is a provocative study of the relationship between political commitment, perception, and moral sensibility. Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1981.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:35 -0400)
Why did so many distinguished Western Intellectuals--from G.B. Shaw to J.P. Sartre, and. closer to home, from Edmund Wilson to Susan Sontag-- admire various communist systems, often in their most repressive historical phases? How could Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China, or Castro's Cuba appear at one time as both successful modernizing societies and the fulfillments of the boldest dreams of social justice? Why, at the same time, had these intellectuals so mercilessly judged and rejected their own Western, liberal cultures? What Impulses and beliefs prompted them to seek the realization of their ideals in distant, poorly known lands? How do their journeys fit into long-standing Western traditions of looking for new meaning In the non-Western world? These are some of the questions Paul Hollander sought to answer In his massive study that covers much of our century. His success is attested by the fact that the phrase "political pilgrim" has become a part of intellectual discourse. Even in the post-communist era the questions raised by this book remain relevant as many Western, and especially American intellectuals seek to come to terms with a world which offers few models of secular fulfillment and has tarnished the reputation of political Utopias. His new and lengthy introduction updates the pilgrimages and examines current attempts to find substitutes for the emotional and political energy that used to be invested in them. Even in the post-communist era the questions raised by this book remain relevant as many Western, and especially American intellectuals seek to come to terms with a world which offers few models of secular fulfillment and has tarnished the reputation of political Utopias. His new and lengthy introduction updates the pilgrimages and examines current attempts to find substitutes for the emotional and political energy that used to be invested in them.
(summary from another edition)
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