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Memoirs: Fifty Years of Political Reflection [Paperback]

Raymond Aron , George Holoch
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1997 0841911142 978-0841911147
Raymond Aron has won the respect and admiration of leading figures from all spheres of twentieht-centruy life and from all points of teh poilitical spectrum. An independent thinker who was often called the lone voice of reason in the heat of political conflicts, Aron became well known for his bold, penetrating ideas. His dispassionate, probing analyses of international affairs, ethnic conflicts, social and economic problems, and contemporary history have become increasingly influential in the U.S. and foreign arenas of political discourse and public policy.

Whether working with the Free French in London during World War II, voicing early support for the reconstruction of a devastated post-war Germany, or offering new insights on peace and war in a nuclear age, Aron consistently brightened areas of inquiry by his capacity for cogent and forthright reflection. In the foreground of many of the most important political events of the twentieth century, he developed relationships with others similarly engaged figures such as Charles de Gaulle, Jean-Paul Sartre, Andr Malraux, and Henry Kissinger, all of whom appear in his prizewinning Memoirs.

Aron stimulated debate and elicited strong attachments in his roles as journalist, author, adviser, and professor in philosophy, political science, and sociology in Europe and the United States, where he contributed to periodicals such as the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, COMMENTARY, and FOREIGN AFFAIRS. Since his death in 1983, Aron's brilliant works of social and political philosophy have found an increasingly large following among younger readers whose appreciation can only deepen with this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the man and his thoughts.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Philosopher, critic, professor, and journalist, Aron left an indelible mark on French and European intellectual life. First published in France in 1983, the year of Aron's death, these memoirs recount the author's eventful life, from his school days with Jean-Paul Sartre to his association with Henry Kissinger. In between, Aron's many careers saw him teach in Germany in the early 1930s, spend World War II in London with the Free French, and then return to Paris as a successful author and journalist. These thoughtful and often brilliant memoirs should be in most library collections.
- Ian Wallace, Food Research & Development Centre Lib., St. Hyacinthe, Quebec
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Aron's magnificent MEMOIRS belongs to the twentieth century. . . . The cautionary shadows cast by his temperament remain: his fear of the irrational forces in history, now being channeled into race and ethnic conflicts; his skepticism and doubt about ideologies and claims to final truths; and his ethic of responsibility as the guide for those who tread the path of politics, even to save souls." -- Daniel Bell, New York Times Book Review

"Aron's recollections take the reader through fascinating worlds in a fascinating way. For better or for worse, they don't make intellectuals like this anymore. . . . He has left a document that reminds us of a vital truth: that the proper concern of intellectuals is the struggle to see reality, even if they are not always successful." -- New Republic

Aron's greatest legacy, to his students and to his readers . . . was teaching them how to think about history, politics, and society. . . . To me, he was the salt of the earth." -- Stanley Hoffman, New York Review of Books

Product Details

  • Paperback: 509 pages
  • Publisher: Holmes & Meier Pub (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0841911142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0841911147
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,582,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the least known great thinkers April 23, 2001
Raymond Aron was unique among intellectuals: at once a journalist and scholar, he was a prolific writer on, and noted expert in, a huge aray of subjects from philosophy to military strategy to economics. As it turns out, his life was also fascinating: he was a classmate and best friends with Sartre before becoming his great adversary during the post war debates on Marxism, was in London for the French resistance during the war, and became a television personality late in life.
In French, Aron writes with a grace and clarity that are astonishing. Now I have finally read his memoires, one of the last things he wrote. When you compare any contemporary intellectual to him, they simply can't measure up.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Simply put, Rayomd Aron's memoir is proufound and interesting. Those who want to affect society in terms of knowledge should read this book. Aron just before his death tells us what intellectual ethics is, how unconscious intellectuals can be far from mass, and why we need philosohpy to understand society. Through the entire of the book, there is a specter of Sartre who used to be Aron's "little comarade" but turned out to be his ideological enemy. In contrast to a Sartre's monstrous genius who declined a Nobel prize, Aron commits himself as a humble humanutarian. This book is a critical review of the French intellectual history.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book September 22, 1998
By A Customer
Raymond Aron is one of the most interesting intellectuals of this century. His writing is deeply appealing. He is not just telling the political history of the century he lived. The pages are like a wave that drifts from the right to the left inside the parties, from his childhood to poetry, passing through comunism, nazism, the wars, the fall of the ideologies, till reach the decade where the giant (USA) starts its fall - the seventies. He throws you into the political sense, into the racionality of the inteligentsias throughout Europe. It's not just about past, present and future. It's a different history. It's a guest for reason, it's a guest for the most challinging steps of man.
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