Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches Hardcover – March 6, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$29.90 $2.40

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Literature and politics are inextricably intertwined and unified by moral purpose in this powerful collection of pieces (a couple not previously published in English or at all) by iconic critic and novelist Sontag (Regarding the Pain of Others), who died in 2004. Sontag was a dedicated champion of literature in translation, and the book opens with several introductions to such works, led off by a meditation on beauty. The section might have been called "Art and Ardor," so laced is it with artistic passion, both Sontag's own and that of the writers she celebrates, such as Leonid Tsypkin and Anna Banti. Part three contains speeches Sontag gave in accepting the Jerusalem Prize and other awards, and honoring others whose moral courage she admired. But most striking is to re-read the pieces she wrote in the wake of 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib scandal, which constitute the book's middle section. Sontag's controversial attack on the Bush administration immediately after 9/11 may have been an act of courage or of folly, but from a distance of five years, her critique seems on the mark. Sontag's brilliance as a literary critic, her keen analytical skill and her genius for the searingly apt phrase (like her damning "the photographs are us" in relation to the Abu Ghraib photos) are all fiercely displayed here. (Mar. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The world lost a brilliant, passionate, and ethical thinker and writer when Susan Sontag died in December 2004. In his moving foreword to this collection of resonant essays and speeches, Sontag's son, David Rieff, writes that his mother "was interested in everything. Indeed, if I had only one word with which to evoke her, it would be avidity." But for all her arresting insights into photography and other arts, literature was Sontag's true love, and nowhere else has she so directly addressed what literature accomplishes. Sontag was working on this book at the end of her life, and it is a generously personal volume addressing her greatest ardors and gravest concerns. Here is Sontag on beauty, Russian literature, and the art of literary translation. Here, too, are Sontag's clarion writings on Israel, 9/11, and Abu Ghraib. Although Sontag was happiest writing fiction, she never failed to celebrate the work of others or protest injustice and brutality, and in this she was both artist and hero. More posthumous works are promised. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374100721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374100728
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this collection of essays is an exhilarating experience for anyone who cares about the ethical value of literature, as Sontag herself would say, the "seriousness" of literature. For Sontag was nothing if not "serious". This is not to say humorless, but always fully engaged, grappling with issues that she would return to time and again if her views changed or to clarify a point.

These issues, exemplified by this sterling collection of essays, range from the political to the moral to the literary (she would probably say the latter encompasses the former two). While her outspokeness frequently won her enemies, and her bluntness can be seen at times as insensitive, she was always looking inward to create a public person that she could admire, a strenuous egotism.

Readers of this volume can find her championing writers she feels have been neglected, criticizing the United States foreign policies and most notoriously, evaluating the attacks of 9/11 in yet further clarifications of her opinions.

The loss of this woman is incalculable; even when one disagrees with her(and at some points I am sure you will) you will never fail to find her challenging you to define your own point of view. Her aphorisms expand in widening concentric circles of thought, broadening your vistas with clarity and compassion.
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Susan Sontag was one of the most insightful and intelligent essayists of the last century. Her death is a tremendous loss to American Arts and Letters. At the Same Time is a collection of postumously published essays and speeches from the last few years. The collection reads like much of her work: articulate, precise, and always intellectually and morally "serious." I particularly liked her essay on Dostoyevsky and on translation, her clarity and depth of thought are truly reminiscent of Walter Benjamin here. I found her speeches a bit dry and contrived, not the form she's most comfortable in clearly. As always, she champions a number of neglected works of literature, one Russian, one American. Additionally, you will find excellent essays on 9/11 and the horrible events that unfolded in Iraq. Sontag's indignation is appropriate and timely.

Not a collection that is likely to eclipse Against Interpretation or Under the Sign of Saturn, but definitely worthwhile for all readers.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This posthumous collection of essays by one of the most brilliant and active thinkers of our time is a precious reminder of the value of sane and honest voice in this time of confusing and exploited communications. Her interests are vast and her compassion is as remarkable as her intellect. What most impressed me is her love for and faith in literature as a reader as well as a writer, her endless devotion to being the conscientious writer to be the sane mind and clear voice against the ubiquitous superlatives by organizational agendas and deliberate distortions. "To have access to literature, world literature, way to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the pass port to enter a larger life; that is the zone of freedom. Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This collection of essays covers material prepared late in Susan Sontag's career. The piece on Leonid Tsypkin, an unheralded, virtually unpublished, Soviet writer, entitled 'Living Dostoyevsky' is very fine. Tsypkin's last work, a novel, was published in America seven days before he died of a heart attack. The title of the novel is SUMMER IN BADEN-BADEN. Tyspkin took care to get his facts right. A source of Tsypkin on Dostoyevsky was Leonid Grossman, (1888-1965). Tsypkin's great pssion was Kafka.

Victor Serge's novel, THE CASE OF COMRADE TULAYEV,was published a year after Victor Serge's death. He was a valiant dissident Communist. Sontag believed Victor Serge resembled Simone Weil in his rectitude. For Serge, fiction was truth. The truths of a novel differ from the truths of an historian. Trotsky accused Victor Serge of being more anarchist than Marxist.

Susan Sontag was not in new York City at the time of nine eleven. She was in Berlin. Returning, she read the heartbreaking biographies of the victims appearing in the NEW YORK TIMES. She believed the principal figures in leadership positions were at a linguistic loss. She rejected prevalent models of reaction to the event that we are at war or our civilization is superior. A year after the event the Bush administration decreed that the U.S. was at war, but it was a war without end.

Sontag believed that not calling what took place at Abu Graib torture was as outrageous as not calling what took place in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus genocide. The photographs represented the fundamental corruption of the occupation.

The essay entitled 'The Conscience of Words' notes that to speak truthfully about literature it is necessary to talk about paradox.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Sontag has the ability to guide us with her intellect and also touch us with her heart - it's a rare gift - but she talks to us intimately and educatively and her words are as resonant now as they were then - we miss your thought leadership Susan Sontag
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse