Power and the Idealists, Or, The Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath

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Soft Skull Press, 2005 - Political Science - 311 pages
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In January 2001, a scandal erupted when a series of photos from 1968 emerged showing German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and a group of leftist street toughs assaulting a cop. Paul Berman, one of the leading essayists and intellectual historians of the New Left, uses this event as a springboard to reflect on a crucial question for Western democracies today: was the violence-tinged radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s a force for social good or for social ill? This wide-ranging history of anti-totalitarianism explores the Left's response to human rights abuses around the world, tracing the intellectual evolution of figures as various as Polish dissident Adam Michnik and Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) to argue that liberals willing to use power to protect human rights are the true heirs of the radical sixties, and that the Islamic totalitarian impulse he identified in the New York Times bestseller Terror and Liberalism must be opposed with vigor.

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About the author (2005)

Paul Berman is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

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