Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, 1928-1978

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University Press of America, 1990 - Political Science - 526 pages
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Why have noted Western intellectualsófrom George Bernard Shaw to Jean-Paul Sartre to Susan Sontagóembraced the vision of various "revolutionary" societies, often in their most repressive historical phase, while downgrading (and yet enjoying) the benefits of Western liberal pluralistic political cultures? How have the delusions and dreams of many Western observers of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other socialist states contributed to a moral and political double standard? Paul Hollander explores these crucial questions in a remarkable study of travel reports on socialist countries written by Western visitors. Observing that political pilgrims represent a tradition of seeking alternatives to flawed social arrangements at home, Hollander also suggests that underlying these visits is a quest for meaning, purpose, and sense of community that intellectuals feel increasingly deprived of in secular and individualistic societies in the West. Political Pilgrims, listed among "The Notable Books of the Year" in the New York Times Book Review, is a provocative study of the relationship between political commitment, perception, and moral sensibility. Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1981.

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