Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents

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Penguin Books Limited, Apr 7, 2011 - History - 256 pages

'Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay' - Oliver Goldsmith

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of shared purpose. But we have forgotten how to think about the life we live together: its goals and purposes. We are now not only post-ideological; we have become post-ethical. We have lost touch with the old questions that have defined politics since the Greeks: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society? A better world? The social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America - the guarantee of security, stability and fairness - is no longer assured; in fact, it's no longer part of collective conversation.

In this exceptional short book, Tony Judt reveals how we have arrived at our present dangerously confused moment and masterfully crystallizes our great unease, showing how we might yet think ourselves out of it. If we are to replace fear with confidence then we need a different story to tell, about state and society alike: a story that carries moral and political conviction. Providing that story is the purpose of this book.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - eglinton - LibraryThing

A calm and smart analysis of the place of "progressive" politics and how it has slipped in our culture of selfishness and pragmatism. Judt died a few years back, and so this work predates our current ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aront - LibraryThing

I wanted to be more sympathetic to this book. I admire Judt as an historian (his Postwar is a phenomenal book). I have had occasion to hear him speak before his illness and he has always struck me as ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

At the time of his death, Tony Judt was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor in European Studies at New York University. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. In 2009 Judt was awarded a Special Orwell Prize for Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to British Political writing. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005) was a runner up for the 2006 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

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