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Thinking the Twentieth Century Paperback – January 29, 2013
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—The Los Angeles Times — THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
“An intellectual feast, learned, lucid, challenging and accessible.”
—San Francisco Chronicle — SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“Fans will find plenty to sustain them in this poignant coda to a life marked by great feats of penmanship, scholarly insight and contemporary polemic… [Judt’s] bravery is ever-present, but rightly understated. As Mr Snyder notes in his introduction, the book is both about the life of the mind and a mindful life. Judt exemplified both.”
—The Economist — THE ECONOMIST
“Judt was a provocateur, but maybe an accidental one, and after reading this remarkable, impassioned book, it's hard to doubt his sincerity… Thinking the Twentieth Century is Judt's final salvo against what he saw as a culture of historical ignorance and political apathy, and it's every bit as brilliant, uncompromising and original as he was.”
—NPR — NPR.org
“Incandescent on every page with intellectual energy.”
—Pankaj Mishra, Prospect Magazine (UK) — Pankaj Mishra, PROSPECT MAGAZINE (UK)
"Scintillating... a lively, browsable, deeply satisfying meditation on recent history by a deservedly celebrated public intellectual."
—Publisher's Weekly (starred review) — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
About the Author
Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and the author of five award-winning books, most recently Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Top Customer Reviews
John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek were economists and political philosophers. Keynes' ideas were shaped by the pre-WW1 poverty and social programs of Britain. He saw capitalism as unstable, requiring government intervention. Hayek's were shaped by the post WW1 disorder in Austria. He saw the welfare State as the road to Hitler.
"Fascists and Nazis assumed that you could mix property-based capitalism on the one hand and government intervention on the other." P347 Communists were obsessed with power and therefore wanted the State to control the economy. All three tried to create self-sufficient economies. USSR planning failed so badly no one copied it.
Judt is a Zionist who believes that both the Israeli and US government policy is wrong.
Intellectuals write for their audience without personal experience.
The 20th century went from world war to the collapse of most of the belief systems. P.393
"The vast majority of human beings today are simply not competent to protect their own interests." P.366
"The tendency of mass democracy to produce mediocre politicians is what worries me." P.Read more ›
The book has a nice personal touch -- it is partly autobiographical, with Judt talking freely about his own life, in passages that reveal Judt's deep and sometimes ambiguous connections to many of the places and events he describes. As a non-historian, what I value most about the book is that I feel it gives me something which otherwise would've taken me forty other books to get (in other words, which otherwise I would never have gotten), namely, a non-superficial overview of the twentieth century, motivated not by ideology but by knowledge. Judt and Snyder have done the hard work, and all the rest of us have to do is to read their book.
It would be inaccurate, however, to reach such a conclusion after reading Tony Judt and Timothy Snyder's Thinking the Twentieth Century, a text which explores and critiques in uncensored detail the dominant ideas, leaders, and events that helped shape the twentieth century. His final testament to the world before succumbing to ALS, Judt, through his discussions with renowned Yale historian Timothy Snyder and author of Bloodlands, evinces a masterpiece that will regale those who thought his greatest feat was Postwar.
Stated in the foreword and reiterated in the afterword, Judt wants to impart to his reader his view of himself as an outsider. In each of the nine chapters, for example, he provides autobiographical information as a means of placing himself squarely in the context of the twentieth century but more as an observer rather than as active participant.
To support this image of the outsider, we learn that the origin of his name was from a relative, which is not particularly unusual, until he adds that his relative died in Auschwitz. There is the history of his family, which includes Eastern Europe and his socialist father and grandfather, but it also includes a mother who is more interested in being British than anything else.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think this is the best book I've read all year. It's one you'll want to read slowly, pausing frequently to absorb striking and deep historical and political observations. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Richard Crouch
This is a very interesting transcript of the dialog between Tony and Tim once ALS left Tony no longer able to write other than by dictation. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
So far, I am very impressed. a thoughtful, insightful, informed discussion of social, political, and economic developments during the 20th century. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jon Dewey
An edited transcript by the second author of discussions with the first, a well-known public intellectual and historian of Eastern Europe, as he awaited death in 2009 from a... Read morePublished 15 months ago by weston
Good book. The first half is really insightfull, when the autors discuss the first half of the century. Read morePublished 23 months ago by RM