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Biography[ edit ] A Marxist Zionist as a young man, Judt dropped his faith in Zionism after youthful experience in Israel in the s and came to see a Jewish state as an anachronism; he moved away from Marxism in the s and s. In later life, he described himself as "a universalist social democrat".
He was also well known for his views on Israel, which generated significant debate after he advocated a one-state solution to the Israeli—Palestinian conflict.
According to journalist David Herman, Judt's directorship of the Remarque Institute, his book Postwar and his articles on Israel made him "one of the best-known public intellectuals in America," having previously been "a fairly obscure British historian, specialising in modern French history".
He was raised by his mother, whose parents had emigrated from Russia and Romaniaand his Book review family to family essay, who was born in Belgium and had immigrated as a boy to Ireland and then subsequently to England. Judt's parents lived in North Londonbut due to the closure of the local hospitals in response to an outbreak of infant dysenteryJudt was born in a Salvation Army maternity unit in Bethnal Greenin the East End of London.
When Judt was nine years of age, following the birth of his sister, the family moved to a house in Kingston-upon-ThamesSurrey. The family's main language was English, although Judt often spoke in French to his father and to his father's family. He moved away from Zionism after the Six-Day War oflater stating that "I went with this idealistic fantasy of creating a socialist, communitarian country", but that he came to realise that left-wing Zionists were "remarkably unconscious of the people who had been kicked out of the country He moved to New York University in Judt was married three times, his first two marriages ending in divorce.
His third marriage was to Jennifer Homans, The New Republic's dance critic, with whom he had two children. The piece also refers to "a month of heavy radiation" for cancer inan illness unrelated to his death from ALS several years later.
European history[ edit ] Judt's experiences in Paris contributed to what would become a long and fruitful relationship with French political culture. He translated his Cambridge doctorate into French and published it in as La reconstruction du parti socialiste: It was introduced by Annie Kriegel, who along with Maurice Agulhon was an important influence upon his early work as a French social historian.
Judt's second book, Socialism in Provence — A Study in the Origins of the French Modern Left, an "enquiry into a political tradition that shaped a nation",  was an attempt to explain early origins and the continuities of left-wing politics in the region.
More than any other work by Judt, Socialism in Provence was based upon extensive archival research. It was his one and only attempt to place himself within the social history that was dominant in the s.
Modern French history[ edit ] In the s and s, Judt was a historian of modern France. Marxism and the French Left: Studies in Labour and Politics in France — collects several previously unpublished essays on the 19th and 20th centuries, ending with a discussion of Mitterrand.
French Intellectuals, —, Judt moved away both from social history towards intellectual history, and from the endorsement of French Marxist traditions to their critique.
In Past Imperfect, he castigated French intellectuals of the postwar era, above all Jean-Paul Sartre for their "self-imposed moral amnesia".
In Judt's reading, French thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre were blinded by their own provincialism, and unable to see that their calls for intellectual authenticity should have required them to interrogate their own attachment to communism and criticize the Soviet Union for its policies in postwar eastern Europe.
This was in some sense a criticism from within, using French sources and polemical style against famous French intellectuals. Judt made a similar case in some of his more popular writings. For instance, following the recognition by then President Jacques Chiracinof the responsibility of the French state during the Collaborationon the anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv raidhe claimed in an op-ed published by The New York Times that: One reason was their near-obsession with Communism.
While proclaiming the need to "engage", to take a stand, two generations of intellectuals avoided any ethical issue that could not advance or, in some cases, retard the Marxist cause. Vichy was dismissed as the work of a few senile Fascists. No one looked closely at what had happened during the Occupation, perhaps because very few intellectuals of any political stripe could claim to have had a "good" war, as Albert Camus did.
No one stood up to cry " J'accuse! Even today, politically engaged writers call for action in Bosnia but intervene only sporadically in debates about the French past. He spent the s and much of the s at Emory, Oxford, Stanford, and Vienna, where he taught political theory, learned Czech and became friendly with a number of east European intellectuals.
Erich Maria Remarque 's widow, actress Paulette Goddardbequeathed her fortune to NYU and this enabled the Institute of European Studies bearing her late husband's name to come into being under Judt's direction.
In this extended essay, he dealt directly with the European Union and its prospects for the future, which, in his view, were quite bleak. According to Judt, Europe's sense of its divisions had long been one of the "defining obsessions of its inhabitants". Another division, Judt claimed, could be seen in the Schengen Agreement.
Nothing more than a "highest common factor of discriminatory political arithmetic," : Similar dangers existed in eastern Europe, where former critics of Soviet universalism deftly recycled themselves into anti-European, nationalist agitators. These problems, Judt wrote, could find their resolution only in increased national intervention.Abstract Family to Family is a book written by the author Dr.
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