In less than a generation, the headlong advance of globalization has altered structures of thought that had been essentially unchanged since the European industrial revolution. As a result, we have lost touch with a century of social thought and socially motivated activism. In the 24 essays in Reappraisals, Judt resurrects the key aspects of the world we have lost to remind us how important they still are to us now and to our future.
©2008 Tony Judt; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"As a fascinating exploration of the world we have recently lost - for good or bad, or both - this collection...cannot be bested." (Publishers Weekly)
"Excellent essays, flawed narration"
Tony Judt was one of the few contemporary thinkers who managed to combine rigorous scholarship with brilliant prose,resulting in cogent exposition of complex issues and theories. These essays, originally published in The New York Review of Books and other similar publications, furnish ample intellectually stimulation and the occasional chuckle, as Judt can have a wicked sense of humor. His dissection of Blair's Britain is brilliantly disheartening and as are the denunciation of Louis Althusser's theories as convoluted gibberish. Primo Levi and Hannah Arendt are lovingly revisited as are intellectuals such Leszek Kolakowski , Eric Hobsbawm and Arthur Koestler. Judt manages to transform even the intricacies of Belgian politics into a fascinating subject.
While I can but praise the text, I have some major problems with the reading of it. James Adams is an adequate reader, but he has major problems with any pronunciation rather than English, and the book is absolutely full of French, Italian , Polish , etc. I found myself heavily cringing at the almost incomprehensible mispronunciations of some non-English words scattered around the text. I would have thought one who accepts the job of reading such a text should do the basic homework of finding out how the names of important writers and intellectuals are pronounced.
These cogent, closely argued essays published in a variety of periodicals over many years provide a valuable interpretation of many aspects of recent history.Tony Judt writes excellently with both passion and intelligence, and always has a well considered approach to each subject and is not the least afraid of reaching controversial conclusions. Many readers might disagree with his views on Israel, America and many other topics, but what he says always deserve serious consideration. Perhaps the most approachable essays are those on such figures as Primo Levi, Albert Camus and and Eric Hobsbawm, but even more obscure topics -communism in Romania, Althusser, political problems of Belgium -are made interesting James Adams reads the text in an alert and straightforward manner which is what is required. This is hardly a book to which one might listen for relaxation, but taken one essay at a time it provides much intellectual stimulation and food for thought . Strongly recommended.
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