A fascinating portrait of the minds that have shaped the modern world. In an intriguing series of case studies, Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sarte, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Lillan Hellman, Cyril Connolly, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Kenneth Tyan, Noam Chomsky, and others are revealed as intellectuals both brilliant and contradictory, magnetic and dangerous.
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Conservative historian Paul Johnson wears his ideology proudly on his sleeve in this often ruthless dissection of the thinkers and artists who (in his view) have shaped modern Western culture, having replaced some 200 years ago "the old clerisy as the guides and mentors of mankind." Taking on the likes of Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, Lillian Hellman, and Noam Chomsky in turn, Johnson examines one idol after another and finds them all to have feet of clay. In his account, for instance, Ernest Hemingway emerges as an artistic hero who labored endlessly to forge a literary style unmistakably his own, but also as a deeply flawed man whose concern for the perfect phrase did not carry over to a concern for the women who loved him. Gossipy and sharply opinionated, Johnson's essay in cultural history spares no one.
Does it really matter that Henrik Ibsen was vain and arrogant, that Jean-Paul Sartre was incontinent? In Johnson's view, it does: these all-too-human foibles disqualify them, and other thinkers, from presuming to criticize the shortcomings of society. "Beware intellectuals," he concludes (though, given the subjects of his book, it seems he means intellectuals only of the left). "Not only should they be kept well away from the levers of power, they should also be objects of particular suspicion when they seek to offer collective advice." Whether one agrees or not, Johnson's profiles are frequently amusing and illuminating, as when he suggests that the only proletarian Karl Marx ever knew in person was the poor maid who worked for him for decades and was never paid, except in room and board, for her labors. --Gregory McNameeAbout the Author:
Paul Johnson was born in 1928. He edited the New Statesman in the 1960s and has written over forty books. His Modern Times, a history of the world from the 1920s to the 1990s, has been translated into more than fifteen languages. As well as a weekly column in the Spectator, he contributes to newspapers all over the world.
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Descripción Paperback. Estado de conservación: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Nº de ref. de la librería GOR004583172
Descripción Orion Publishing Group, Limited, London, United Kingdom, 1988. Soft Cover. Estado de conservación: Good. No Jacket. Size: 8vo - otver 7¾" - 9¾" Tall. Nº de ref. de la librería 613547
Descripción Phoenix House. Paperback. Estado de conservación: VERY GOOD. Cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. May have creases on the cover and binding caused from handling and reading. Some pages may contain writing and or highlighting. Nº de ref. de la librería 2748978513
Descripción Phoenix House. Paperback. Estado de conservación: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Nº de ref. de la librería 2779150314
Descripción Weidenfeld & Nicolson History 1996-11-04, 1996. Paperback. Estado de conservación: Very Good. All books are pre-owned and will have been read by someone else before you. They may well show signs of minor wear and tear. Please note, cover images are illustrative only, and the actual book cover and edition can vary. Nº de ref. de la librería 9781857997842-21
Descripción Phoenix/Orion Books, London, United Kingdom, 1996. Softcover. Estado de conservación: Very Good +. Reprint. x, + 384pp. Book clean, square. Spine firm, soft reading crease. Leaves clean. Illustrated (Oliver Buston) card wrapper negligibly surface scuffed only. "The author examines whether intellectuals are morally fit to give advice to humanity. How great is their respect for truth? What is their attitude to money? How do they treat their spouses and children - legitimate and illegitimate? How loyal are they to their friends? In essence, so their private practices match the standard of their public principles? Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway and many others are put under the spotlight . . . " Book weight approx. 490g. Nº de ref. de la librería 010379