Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect : French Intellectuals, 1944-1956

4.02 (82 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Past Imperfect is a forthright and uncommonly damning study of those intellectually volatile years [1944-1956]. Mr. Judt...does more than simply describe the ideological acrobats of his subjects; he is a sharp, even a vindictive moralist who indicts these intellectuals for their inhumanity in failing to test their political thought against political reality." -John Sturrock, New York Times Book Reviewshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 348 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 27.94mm | 498.95g
  • New York University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0814743560
  • 9780814743560
  • 331,677

Review quote

"...Past Imperfect is a well researched, passionately written hatchet job on the illusions and follies of a generation of post-war French Intellectuals. Judt begins by asking why communism dominated political and philosophical conversation in postwar France...Having put this period in context, Judt chronicles the emergence of a new generation of French postwar intellectuals and describes the central issues which preoccupied them: the legacy of four years of which came in their wake; Anti-Americanism and the Cold War; and the battles over French colonialism, especially in Algeria. He points out the key turning points; the Kravchenko and Rousset trials, brought by authors whose accounts of Soviet Communism met with disbelief and worse in Paris; the break between Stalin and Tito; the Rajk and Slansky show trials in east Europe; and finally in 1956, the suppression of the Hungarian uprising. Through it all, Judt traces certain disturbing patterns, especially the almost pathological flirtation of French intellectuals with violence and terror, from the French Revolution to Satre's support for political terrorism and Maoism."-Jewish Quarterlyshow more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsINTRODUCTIONPART ONE: THE FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES? 1. Decline and Fall2. In the Light of Experience3. Resistance and Revenge4. What is Political Justice? PART TWO: THE BLOOD OF OTHERS 5. Show Trials6. The Blind Force of History7. Today Things Are Clear PART THREE: THE TREASON OF THE INTELLECTUALS 8. The Sacrifices of Russian People9. About the East We Can Do Nothing10. America Has Gone Mad11. We Must Not Disillusion the Workers PART FOUR: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM 12. Liberalism, There Is the Enemy13. Gesta Dei per Francos14 Europe and the French Intellectuals CONCLUSION: GOODBYE TO ALL THAT?SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READINGINDEXshow more

About Tony Judt

Tony Judt was a University Professor, the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies, and director of the Remarque Institute at more

Rating details

82 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 37% (30)
4 38% (31)
3 20% (16)
2 4% (3)
1 2% (2)
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