Historian Timothy Snyder describes his collaboration with Tony Judt. Two explorers set out on a journey from which only one of them will return. The discussions on the craft of history are also stimulating. Socialism in Provence 1871-1914: A Study in the Origins of the Modern French Left. The entire book is based upon not agreement. For readers who like to be challenged, this searching look at our recent history provides a firm intellectual and moral foundation for understanding the dilemmas of our time. This book is part of the legacy of a first class historian who indeed deserves to be remembered as one of the great moralists of the 20th century.
In autumn 2008, he was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. He was also well known for his views on Israel, which generated significant debate after he advocated a to the. As technology brings the world closer and closer to us, the way the world is expressed to us becomes more and more emotional. We were talking, we were recording. And often, he is deeply smart. I think if the book has a virtue, it shows how important conversation can be.
The article, which presented a view of Middle Eastern history and politics that had rarely been given exposure in the mainstream media in the United States, generated an explosive response, positive as well as negative. But he did it in such way that he remained a -- he retained a kind of potent individuality the whole time, and that was no more on display than at the very end when despite a really dreadful illness, which meant that he lost all of the use of his limbs, his voluntary and involuntary muscles right down to his eyes and his voice which were what was left when we were talking. He thought that memory was a subject of history. The way ideas crackle in the interplay between the authors. The most important is that Judt's focus on Europe, and especially Eastern Europe which is one of the valuable things about the book , leads him to overlook and almost entirely ignore the broader global context.
As long as I don't look at the engineer, there are no, you know, there are no lights flashing. I don't mean change location altogether. Thinking the Twentieth Century is Judt's final work, and it's fitting that it is just as complex as the historian himself. His friend and fellow historian, Timothy Snyder, offered to help. Life was extremely cruel to Tony Judt. Tony was one of our best, if not our best historian.
And that's one of the many things that I treasure about it. He was a frequent contributor to the. So he was also, to use an old-fashioned word, he was a self-made man. Both Tony and I saw the Marshall plan. But the interesting thing, I think, is the way that Tony transcended that reality.
This book is a mix of memoires and a critical introduction to 20th C. And yet, with that said, goddamn but is there a big heaping passel of wisdom in most of what he does say, a real timber of reflection that burnishes those words with lived life. I met him when I was a student. Throughout his early years, Tony would accompany his parents and younger sister to the home of his Orthodox Jewish grandfather for a traditional Friday night sabbath dinner. But what about jihadis who are themselves sort of captured by the ideology of radical Islam? His clear and thoughtful prose perfectly carries his infectitious passion for ideas.
Judt and Snyder draw us deep into their analysis, making us feel that we too are part of the conversation. You can't reduce any difficult subject down just to one thing, whether it's communism or anticommunism. His position was reversed but he was quite certain he was going to die very soon and that therefore he had no control over the other things that might be happening. Judt had a great gift in that he could make you interested in anything thing that he had to say. Thanks largely to writing for the New York Review of Books and New Republic, he found a demotic voice and a wider audience. When , and entered the public arena, it usually involved a crisis far away—in Madagascar, Vietnam or Cambodia. He was the director and founder of the Remarque Institute and a professor at New York University.
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 neurological disorder that destroyed his ability to write but did not impair his mental faculties. His entire family could go back just a couple generations just from Eastern Europe. In restoring and indeed exemplifying the best of intellectual life in the twentieth century, Thinking the Twentieth Century opens pathways to a moral life for the twenty-first. Tony was one of the very few people, and this was part of why he was so special, who spoke in paragraphs. And what strikes me is the key question of the twenty-first century and one of the reasons why we have to have our minds around the twentieth century to have any idea what's going on around us. This sort of text defies a review.