From Publishers Weekly
France's leading public intellectual voices vestigial allegiance to the Left—while trashing it—in this convoluted manifesto. Philosopher-journalist Lévy (American Vertigo
) feels a family loyalty not to a dead programmatic socialism but to images, events and reflexes—drawn from the Dreyfus Affair, the 1968 upheavals and other historical milestones that expressed the French Left's opposition to racism and fascism, its support of egalitarianism and its attitude of all-embracing moral responsibility. Lévy follows this muted tribute with a harsh critique of present-day leftist politics. Flogging everyone from Noam Chomsky to Cindy Sheehan, the author attacks the Left for its antiliberalism and anti-Americanism (a veiled anti-Semitism, he believes) and for being soft on Fascislamism, warning that this progressivism without progress adopts the Right's worst features with its isolationism and resistance to humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Darfur. Lévy is a more cerebral—and judicious—Christopher Hitchens; despite his grandiosity, arcane allusions and the high rhetoric of his long, coiling sentences, he is a lucid, cogent polemicist. Although the dudgeon he directs at the diminished sins of a marginalized postcommunist Left seems overdone, Lévy's many American fans will relish it. (Sept. 16)
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“[Lévy’s] memories interlace with reflections on his long career of political activism . . . and are studded with passionately held positions on every issue current on the world stage. Whether or not you agree with him . . . you will be convinced of this: Ideas matter to him.”—New York Observer
“Lévy offers as fine a description as you’re likely to find anywhere of what the conventional international left . . . has adopted as its worldview. . . . [His] discussion of contemporary anti-Semitism is sophisticated, detailed and convincing.”—Los Angeles Times
“Continually asking himself as well as others to confront the hard questions, [Lévy] produces a text that . . . readers will find highly absorbing.”—New York Times Book Review
“Moving and inspiring . . . When political leaders commit atrocities, intellectuals remind the world of right and wrong. . . . Bernard-Henri Lévy, perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today, seeks to revive this tradition of speaking truth to power.”—Boston Globe