An oral history of the twentieth century, dictated on his deathbed, shows that Tony Judt was, to the end, the consummate public intellectual.
The title Thinking the Twentieth Century comes from a comment Judt made in passing during his running conversation with Snyder. What made Orwell and Koestler so special, he argued, was their ability to identify in real time the absurd and grotesque events of the century for which there was no precedent, rather than insisting that those events were unthinkable. The rise of fascism, the Holocaust, and the long march of Soviet communism needed first and foremost to be described: they were the trees. Orwell and Koestler had the consummate historian’s skill to say what had happened—to “think the twentieth century.” In giving this title to Judt’s final book, Snyder implies that Judt too had that rare gift. He is right. Without thinkers like him we are lost in the forest.
If you are interested in purchasing this book, we have included a link for your convenience.
Feed the Political AnimalDonate
Washington Monthly depends on donations from readers like you.