Do the private practices of intellectuals match the standard of their public principles? How great is their respect for truth? What is their attitude to money? How do they treat their spouses and children - legitimate and illegitimate? How loyal are they to their friends? Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht ...
Do the private practices of intellectuals match the standard of their public principles? How great is their respect for truth? What is their attitude to money? How do they treat their spouses and children - legitimate and illegitimate? How loyal are they to their friends? Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sartre, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Lillian Hellman, Cyril Connolly, Norman Mailer, Kenneth Tynan and many others are put under the spotlight. With wit and brilliance, Paul Johnson exposes these intellectuals, and questions whether ideas should ever be valued more than individuals.
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Very good book & a joy to read. It's the 2nd book I've read by Paul Johnson & look forward to reading more. Wish he's make a part 2 to this book.
Dec 29, 2007
Great Book !
Historian Paul Johnson discovers the threads running through the lives of liberal writers, theorists, and thinkers. These utopian liberals treated their own families terribly, tended to have drinking problems, and were far better at telling others how to live their lives than they were at living their own. Other remarkable threads are the lack of divine guidance, the upholding of untested ideas, and the rejection of traditional authority. Yes, Johnson is a conservative - and one of the most insightful historians of our age.
Nov 8, 2007
Mr Johnson is a great historian. He may not always be right, but he always makes you think and re-evaluate your assumptions. In the case of this book, which invites us to see the leaden feet of many liberal icons, I would only raise the question of whether or not it was necessary to come down so hard on Bertrand Russell simply because he declined to learn how to make tea.
Publishers Weekly, 1990-02-23 Johnson here sets his sights on Marx, Sartre, Shelley, Tolstoy, Brecht, Ibsen and others. ``Written from a conservative standpoint, these pummeling profiles of illustrious intellectuals are caustic, skewed, thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging,'' maintained PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1989-01-13 Written from a conservative standpoint, these pummeling profiles of illustrious intellectuals are caustic, skewed, thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging. The author of A History of the World skeptically weighs each pundit's moral and judgmental credentials to give advice to humanity. He plays up the personal shortcomings of Marx, a failed academic given to pseudoscientific jargon, habitual anger and dictatorial habits; Sartre, a spoiled only child, existentialist philosopher of action who did nothing of consequence for the French Resistance and never lifted a finger to save the Jews; pacifist Bertrand Russell, who repeatedly advocated ``preventative'' nuclear war against Stalinist Russia between 1945 and 1949; Hemingway, whose adolescent rejection of his parents' religion is said to have triggered his secular ethic of action and violence. This rogues' gallery includes ``notorious liar'' Lillian Hellman; self-publicists Norman Mailer and Bertolt Brecht; leftist publisher Victor Gollancz, ``a monster of self-deception''; Shelley, Rousseau, Tolstoy, Ibsen, others. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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