Last Rites

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Yale University Press, Feb 24, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
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Twenty years ago, John Lukacs paused to set down the history of his own thoughts and beliefs in Confessions of an Original Sinner, an adroit blend of autobiography and personal philosophy. Now, in Last Rites, he continues and expands his reflections, this time integrating his conception of history and human knowledge with private memories of his wives and loves, and enhancing the book with footnotes from his idiosyncratic diaries. The resulting volume is fascinating and delightful—an auto-history by a passionate, authentic, brilliant, and witty man.

 

Lukacs begins with a concise rendering of a historical understanding of our world (essential reading for any historian), then follows with trenchant observations on his life in the United States, commentary on his native Hungary and the new meanings it took for him after 1989, and deeply personal portraits of his three wives, about whom he has not written before. He includes also a chapter on his formative memories of May and June 1940 and of Winston Churchill, a subject in some of Lukacs’s later studies. Last Rites is a richly layered summation combined with a set of extraordinary observations—an original book only John Lukacs could have written.

 

Praise for Confessions of an Original Sinner:
“[Lukacs] is an often witty and always fascinating—even entertaining—writer.”—Washington Post

 

 

 

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Contents

A Bad Fifteen Minutes
1
Why?
41
The World Around Me My Adopted Country
53
The World Behind Me My Native Country
105
Intermezzo My Churchill Saga
137
The World Within Me Wives and Loves
147
Ave atque Vale
181
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