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About the book
  • Published: 29 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9781473505216
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

When the Facts Change

Essays 1995 - 2010




A great thinker's final testament: a characteristically wise and forthright collection of essays from the author of Postwar and Thinking the Twentieth Century, spanning a career of extraordinary intellectual engagement. Edited and introduced by Jennifer Homans.

A great thinker's final testament: a characteristically wise and forthright collection of essays from the author of Postwar and Thinking the Twentieth Century, spanning a career of extraordinary intellectual engagement. Edited and introduced by Jennifer Homans.


Tony Judt’s first collection of essays, Reappraisals, was centred on twentieth-century Europe in history and memory. Some of Judt’s most prominent and indeed controversial essays felt outside of the scope of Reappraisals, most notably his writings on the state of Israel and its relationship to Palestine. There would be time, it was thought, to fit these essays into a larger frame. Sadly, this would not be the case, at least during the author’s own life.

Now, in When the Facts Change, Tony Judt’s widow and fellow historian, Jennifer Homans, has found the frame, gathering together important essays from the span of Judt’s career that chronicle both the evolution of his thought and the remarkable consistency of his passionate engagement and intellectual élan. Whether the subject is the scholarly poverty of the new social history, the willful blindness of French collective memory about what happened to the country’s Jews during World War II, or the moral challenge to Israel of the so-called Palestinian problem, the majesty of Tony Judt’s work lies in his combination of unsparing honesty, intellectual brilliance, and ethical clarity. When the Facts Change exemplifies the utility, indeed the necessity, of minding our history and not letting cheerful fictions suffice in its place. An emphatic demonstration of the power of a great historian to connect us more deeply to the world as it was, as it is, and as it should be, it is a fitting capstone to an extraordinary body of work.

  • Pub date: 29 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9781473505216
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the Author

Tony Judt

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.

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Praise for When the Facts Change

“Jennifer Homans, Judt’s widow … sets the tone with her perfectly pitched introduction … discussing Marx or the Marx brothers, the EU or UN, the Middle East or the social function of railways, Judt’s range and clarity are magisterial ... This is a welcome addition to Judt's oeuvre.”

Independent

“His fierce intellect, erudition and a willingness to engage in controversy means that these essays have stood the test of time.”

Financial Times - Books of the Year

“This posthumous collection ... covers not just his specialist subjects, France and Israel, btu also technology and transport, post-9/11 America and the intertwining of social democracy and capitalism. What underpins them all is a moral engagement with the topic and an overview of history as a malleable entity.”

New Statesman

“A historian of rare subtlety and foresight ... Tony Judt was not only a great historian, he was also a great essayist and commentator on international politics ... The logic of his arguments, bolstered by a profusion of historical comparisons and moral reflections, make it hard to disagree with a word he wrote … All of Judt’s essays are written in good faith. They do not exaggerate or distort and, despite provocation, do not descend into cynicism or vitriol … I urge you to read this book.”

Spectator

“For a man who died more than four years ago, Tony Judt remains remarkably prolific. During his lifetime he built a well-deserved reputation as one of the most combative, clear-sighted and illuminating historians of his generation… I am a Judt fan. In my view, almost everything he wrote, from his early books on the French Left in the mid-20th century to his piercing essays in the New York Review of Books, was distinguished by a remarkable acuity, honesty and intellectual insight.”

Literary Review

“The late British historian Tony Judt took his ethical and intellectual stand with Orwell, Camus, Keynes, Marx — and the Marx Brothers “who appeared in ritual screenings” says his wife, the historian Homans. In her selection of Judt’s writings from the years of their marriage, she frames the themes of his ambitious project of a book that would deal with, among other morally challenging topics … As the facts changed, so Judt spoke all the more boldly to contrast what has become of the world with what he had hoped for it.”

The Times

“Judt writes brilliantly about contemporary Israel, European anti-semitism and the impact of the 9/11 attacks.”

Big Issue

“Scholarly, civilised 20th century history.”

Big Issue in the North


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