When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010

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William Heinemann, 2015 - History - 386 pages

A great thinker's final testament: a characteristically wise and forthright collection of essays from the author of Postwar and Thinking the Twentieth Century, spanning a career of extraordinary intellectual engagement. Edited and introduced by Jennifer Homans.


Tony Judt‚e(tm)s first collection of essays, Reappraisals, was centred on twentieth-century Europe in history and memory. Some of Judt‚e(tm)s most prominent and indeed controversial essays felt outside of the scope of Reappraisals, most notably his writings on the state of Israel and its relationship to Palestine. There would be time, it was thought, to fit these essays into a larger frame. Sadly, this would not be the case, at least during the author‚e(tm)s own life.

Now, in When the Facts Change, Tony Judt‚e(tm)s widow and fellow historian, Jennifer Homans, has found the frame, gathering together important essays from the span of Judt‚e(tm)s career that chronicle both the evolution of his thought and the remarkable consistency of his passionate engagement and intellectual √©lan. Whether the subject is the scholarly poverty of the new social history, the willful blindness of French collective memory about what happened to the country‚e(tm)s Jews during World War II, or the moral challenge to Israel of the so-called Palestinian problem, the majesty of Tony Judt‚e(tm)s work lies in his combination of unsparing honesty, intellectual brilliance, and ethical clarity. When the Facts Change exemplifies the utility, indeed the necessity, of minding our history and not letting cheerful fictions suffice in its place. An emphatic demonstration of the power of a great historian to connect us more deeply to the world as it was, as it is, and as it should be, it is a fitting capstone to an extraordinary body of work.

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Could it be? A book that is precisely the sum of its parts, neither more nor less? Facts collects a bunch of book reviews and short essays, mostly written for the usual suspects (NYRB). Most of them ... Read full review

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User Review  - Kunikov - LibraryThing

Tony Judt is a name Europeanists (historians of Europe) regularly encounter. "Postwar" has almost become a standard text in many ways. As with many historians in their own right, Judt has opinions on ... Read full review

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About the author (2015)

Tony Judt was educated at King's College, Cambridge and the √%cole Normale Sup√©rieure, Paris, and taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Berkeley. He was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University, as well as founder and director of the Remarque Institute, creating an ongoing conversation between Europe and America.

The author or editor of fourteen books, Professor Judt was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Republic, the New York Times and many other journals across Europe and the United States. Professor Judt is the author of The Memory Chalet, Ill Fares the Land, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, Thinking the Twentieth Century (with Timothy Snyder) and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which was one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2005, the winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He died in August 2010 at the age of sixty-two.

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