As Tony Judt argues persuasively in Reappraisals, we have entered an ‘age of forgetting’.
Today’s world is so utterly unlike the world of just twenty years ago that we have set aside our immediate past even before we could make sense of it. We literally don’t know where we came from, and the results of this burgeoning ignorance are proving calamitous, with the clear prospect of worse to come. We have lost touch with three generations of international policy debate, social thought and public-spirited social activism. We no longer know how to discuss such concepts and we have forgotten the role once played by intellectuals in debating, transmitting and defending the ideas that shaped their time.
In Reappraisals, Tony Judt resurrects key aspects of the world we have lost and reminds us how important they still are to us: now and to our hopes for the future.
Judt draws provocative connections between a dazzling range of subjects, from the history of the neglect and recovery of the Holocaust and the challenge of ‘evil’ in understanding the European past, to the rise and fall of the state in public affairs and the displacement of history by ‘heritage’.Ranging with his trademark acuity and élan from Belgium to Israel, from the memory of Marxism to the practice of foreign policy, he takes us beyond what we think we know to show us how we came to know it, and reveals how much of our history has been sacrificed in the triumph of myth-making over understanding and denial over memory. His book is a road map back to the historical sense we urgently need.
- Winner of a Special Prize for Lifetime Achievement 2009
- Obituary: Tony Judt
- Tony Judt at the New York Review of Books