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Ill Fares the Land Paperback – March 29, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118763
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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 École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and also taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. Professor Judt was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement, The New RepublicThe 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 CenturyThe Memory ChaletIll Fares the LandReappraisals: 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.



More About the Author

Tony Judt was born in London in 1948. He was educated at King's College, Cambridge and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, Berkeley and New York University, where he is currently the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies and Director of the Remarque Institute, which is dedicated to the study of Europe and which he founded in 1995. The author or editor of twelve books, he is 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 a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Permanent Fellow of the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Vienna). He is the author of "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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Everybody should read this book!
Hans van den Berg
There must be a loss of cohesion and more instability in societies that exhibit great disparity in wealth and social standing.
J. Garing
Overall, I found the book both informative and compelling.
SGB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

218 of 230 people found the following review helpful By Amanda R. Henk on March 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I want to thank Judt for defending with such clarity, eloquence, and passion the concept of social democracy-- the modern welfare state and its set of associated freedoms. He identifies the failures of the new Left that have allowed the ideologies of the Right (wealth accumulation and privatization) to come to so dominate the political conversation that the tremendous gains of the early 20th century--the New Deal, the Great Society etc. are being systematically destroyed. He shows how the rise in inequality between the rich and everyone else is leading to a sick, uneducated, often imprisoned underclass. He then argues that the values of the pre-1960's Left-- equality, trust in government and between citizens, a belief that the public sphere was an important and effective way to solve problems-- are cut out of the public debate. To begin to move away from this sad state of affairs we need to regain the ability to speak in moral terms and develop a coherent narrative of the Left.

A deeply moving work that is fundamentally optimistic and practical. Should be read by every citizen.
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107 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Ken Brosky on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Living in a city like Milwaukee, where our county executive has spent the last five years going out of his way to cut as many jobs in our county park system as possible, I found myself drawn to Judt's intelligent analysis of how the case against government had undermined things we hold dear. But it was his writing that really set his book apart. It's not just the argument between privatization and government that's killing the U.S., it's the wealth disparity that breeds government intrusion through security (wiretapping, CCTV in Britain) in order to pacify the growing anger among a democracy's citizens.

Because ultimately, we love our parks. We love having access to affordable, clean drinking water. And transit. And streets and streetlights. And schools. Is that "socialism," or do we simply use that label in order to avoid engaging in real discourse? We've withdrawn, given up, accepted the idea that our elected leaders are "all the same" and as a result, we've lost something. Read the book to find out what that "something" is and how you can take it back.

Best political book I've ever read.
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94 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Ill Fares the Land" should become one of the most important publications of the next decade.

In straight forward, clear writing, Judt outlines the growing inequities between the rich and the poor in the United States and the failure of the ecomomic philosophy of the past 30 years. During this time the United States has become the most income stratified of the major industrial societies with the highest crime rates and the highest percentage of incarceration.

With devastating analysis Judt documents this growing inequality: The CEO of Walmart earns 900 times the wages of the average employee. The wealth of the Wal-Mart founders' family - $90 billion is equivalent to the combined bottom 40% of the US population: 120 million people.

"Ill Fares..." should be required reading for everyone.

Hugh McIsaac, Santa Cruz
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. OLeary on April 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
my political views are generally conservative and have free market libertarian roots. anyone with an open mind needs to read other points of view (or why value freedom?). tony judt's elegant exposition of the keyensian intevention in 20th century history is a must read for any intellectual "tea party sympathizer" who wonders if the only alternative is "socialism".
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70 of 83 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Anderson on April 20, 2010
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Inequality of incomes --- the widening gap between the very rich and the middle --- is bringing both the United States and the United Kingdom into grave danger, Tony Judt forcefully argues in his latest book. He produces graph after graph to show that inequality correlates with a range of social evils from crime to ill health. The remedy, he believes, is a turn from reckless market capitalism to rational social democracy.
Judt, a fine historian and professor at NYU, is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. This short book, "Ill Fares the Land," can be read as his last will and testament, the single most important message that he wants to leave with those two countries, the one in which he was born and the other in which he has come to live.
The weakness of the book is that he does not address the great questions why the United Kingdom turned away from social democracy a generation ago, and why --- as the dramatic struggle over health care reform recently demonstrated --- a great many Americans have never accepted the idea.
And yet, for any reader who thinks about the future of the two countries and suspects that growing inequality is corroding our values, this book will be a valuable contribution to the debate. Incidentally, Judt summarized the book's main argument in an article he published in the April 29 issue of the New York Review of Books.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tom Munro on May 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tony Judt describes himself as a social democrat. What that means is that he believes that the state should have progressive taxes and to use revenue to create social goods such as health services, education and transport to benefit the community generally. He also believes in the responsibility of the state to manage demand and to lessen unemployment caused by economic cycles.

In Europe following the second world war most people were social democrats. The old nationalist right had been discredited by the failures of fascism. The communists system under Stalin was not successful at the ballot box and it only spread aided by the barrel of a gun.

In the 1980's the old Social Democrat consensus began to collapse with the success of Regan in America and Thatcher in England. Both Regan and Thatcher believed in unequal societies in which the market was the determinant of social activity. The old sectors of the public service were privatized, taxes made more regressive and the government retreated from the economy.

The aim of this book is to explain the virtues of social democracy to the young and to develop a way of selling it. Judt argues that unequal societies are sicker than more equal societies. Crime, illness and division increase. Trust breaks down and you have the rise of gated communities in which the rich exclude the threatening poor. The level of dialogue becomes shriller and the narrow focus on money makes for empty society.

The neo-liberal ideology has dominated political thought for 20 or so years but is now under threat as pure capitalism has shown its inherent weaknesses. The 2008 crash revealed that the system is potentially unstable and also that the creation of wealth can be based on speculation rather than on actual production. Judt sees the crash as a time to look at the Regan and Thatcher era and to see that the old social democratic model is superior.
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