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  • Published: 7 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141962696
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

Ill Fares The Land

A Treatise On Our Present Discontents




A startling diagnosis of how modern Western societies have failed and how they can be reformed

'Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay' - Oliver Goldsmith

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of shared purpose. But we have forgotten how to think about the life we live together: its goals and purposes. We are now not only post-ideological; we have become post-ethical. We have lost touch with the old questions that have defined politics since the Greeks: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society? A better world? The social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America - the guarantee of security, stability and fairness - is no longer assured; in fact, it's no longer part of collective conversation.

In this exceptional short book, Tony Judt reveals how we have arrived at our present dangerously confused moment and masterfully crystallizes our great unease, showing how we might yet think ourselves out of it. If we are to replace fear with confidence then we need a different story to tell, about state and society alike: a story that carries moral and political conviction. Providing that story is the purpose of this book.

  • Published: 7 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141962696
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the author

Tony Judt

Date: 2005-02-17
Professor Tony Judt was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Republic, the New York Times and many other journals in Europe and the US. His books include Ill Fares the Land,Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which was one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2005, the winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He died in August, 2010 at the age of 62.

At the time of his death, Tony Judt was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor in European Studies at New York University. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. In 2009 Judt was awarded a Special Orwell Prize for Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to British Political writing. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005) was a runner up for the 2006 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

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Praise for Ill Fares The Land

Sinewy analysis and supple prose, as clear and refreshing as a mountain stream

Christopher Silvester, Telegraph

One of the most remarkable books on politics to have appeared for a very long time

John Gray, Literary Review

Elegant, courageous and deeply humane

Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

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