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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 École Normale Supérieure, 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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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".
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.
I am sending this book to my mid-twenties daughter. She already has an excellent attitude and outlook toward others which makes me proud. This book will provide background knowledge and support for her positions. While the 60's and 70's begat much of the me generation that followed from the 80's until now, it also stimulated many to believe and work toward social democracy. Unfortunately, the word 'social' has been preempted to nether meanings, but man is ultimately a social animal. This author does an excellent job reminding us of the good past and political progress of the last century that has become somewhat unraveled. Read it. You'll be somewhat saddened, but perhaps reenergized to speak up for social justice and change.
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