Intellectual History
The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War
The House of Wittgenstein
A Family at War
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0307278727
The House of Wittgenstein is the grand saga of a brilliant and tragic Viennese family whose members included a famous philosopher and the world's greatest one-handed classical pianist.

The Wittgenstein family was one of the wealthiest, most talented, and most eccentric in European history, held together by a fanatical love of music yet torn apart by money, madness, conflicts of loyalty, and the upheaval of two world wars. Of the eight children, three committed suicide; Paul lost an arm in the war and yet stubbornly pursued a musical career; and Ludwig, the odd youngest son, is now regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. Alexander Waugh, author of the acclaimed memoir Fathers and Sons and himself the offspring of a famous and eccentric family, tells their baroque tale with a novelistic richness to rival Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.
From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia
From the Ruins of Empire
The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia
Paperback      ISBN: 1250037719

A Financial Times and The Economist Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A SURPRISING, GRIPPING NARRATIVE DEPICTING THE THINKERS WHOSE IDEAS SHAPED CONTEMPORARY CHINA, INDIA, AND THE MUSLIM WORLD

A little more than a century ago, independent thinkers across Asia sought to frame a distinct intellectual tradition that would inspire the continent's rise to dominance. Yet this did not come to pass, and today those thinkers--Tagore, Gandhi, and later Nehru in India; Liang Qichao and Sun Yat-sen in China; Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Abdurreshi al Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire--are seen as outsiders within the main anticolonial tradition. But as Pankaj Mishra demonstrates in this enthralling portrait of like minds, Asia's revolt against the West is not the one led by faith-fired terrorists and thwarted peasants; rather, it is rooted in the ideas of these once renowned intellectuals. Now, when the ascendency of Asia seems possible as never before, From the Ruins of Empire is as necessary as it is timely--a book indispensable to our understanding of the world and our place in it.

Intellectuals
Intellectuals
Paperback      ISBN: 0060916575

A fascinating portrait of the minds that have shaped the modern world. In an intriguing series of case studies, Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sarte, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Lillan Hellman, Cyril Connolly, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Kenneth Tyan, Noam Chomsky, and others are revealed as intellectuals both brilliant and contradictory, magnetic and dangerous.

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier
Paperback      ISBN: 0375758623

Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign--Desforges Pianos--he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop's imperious owner. Unable to stifle his curiosity, he finally lands the proper introduction, and a world previously hidden is brought into view. Luc, the atelier's master, proves an indispensable guide to the history and art of the piano. Intertwined with the story of a musical friendship are reflections on how pianos work, their glorious history, and stories of the people who care for them, from amateur pianists to the craftsmen who make the mechanism sing. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is at once a beguiling portrait of a Paris not found on any map and a tender account of the awakening of a lost childhood passion.

Praise for The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

" Carhart's] writing is fluid and lovely enough to lure the rustiest plunker back to the piano bench and the most jaded traveler back to Paris."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"Captivating . . . Carhart] joins the tiny company of foreigners who have written of the French as verbs. . . . What he tries to capture is not the sight of them, but what they see."
-The New York Times

"Thoroughly engaging . . . In part it is a book about that most unpredictable and pleasurable of human experiences, serendipity. . . . The book is also about something more difficult to pin down, friendship and community."
-The Washington Post

"Carhart writes with a sensuousness enhanced by patience and grounded by the humble acquisition of new insight into music, his childhood, and his relationship to the city of Paris."
-The New Yorker

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics: Revised Edition
The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics
Revised Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 1681371162

European history of the past century is full of examples of philosophers, writers, and scholars who supported or excused the worst tyrannies of the age. How was this possible? How could intellectuals whose work depends on freedom defend those who would deny it?

In profiles of six leading twentieth-century thinkers--Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Alexandre Koj ve, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida--Mark Lilla explores the psychology of political commitment. As continental Europe gave birth to two great ideological systems in the twentieth century, communism and fascism, it also gave birth to a new social type, the philotyrannical intellectual. Lilla shows how these thinkers were not only grappling with enduring philosophical questions, they were also writing out of their own experiences and passions. These profiles demonstrate how intellectuals can be driven into a political sphere they scarcely understand, with momentous results.

In a new afterword, Lilla traces how the intellectual world has changed since the end of the cold war. The ideological passions of the past have been replaced in the West, he argues, by a dogma of individual autonomy and freedom that both obscures the historical forces at work in the present and sanctions ignorance about them, leaving us ill-equipped to understand those who are inflamed by the new global ideologies of our time.
Gatsby's Oxford: Scott, Zelda, and the Jazz Age Invasion of Britain: 1904-1929
Gatsby's Oxford: Scott, Zelda, and the Jazz Age Invasion of Britain
1904-1929
Hardcover      ISBN: 1643130099

The poet T.S. Eliot. The polo star Tommy Hitchcock. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. This diverse group of Americans came to Oxford in the first quarter of the twentieth century--the Jazz Age--when the Rhodes Scholar program had just begun and the Great War had enveloped much of Europe. Scott Fitzgerald created his most memorable character--Jay Gatsby, the Oxford man in the pink suit--shortly after his and Zelda's visit to Oxford. Fitzgerald's creation is a cultural reflection of the aspirations of many Americans who came to the University of Oxford seeking beauty, wisdom, and social connections.

Beginning in 1904, when the first American Rhodes Scholars arrived in Oxford, this book chronicles the experiences of Americans in Oxford through the Great War and the years of recovery to 1929, the end of Prohibition and the beginning of the Great Depression. This period is interpreted through the pages of The Great Gatsby, producing a vivid cultural history. It shows just how much Fitzgerald, the quintessential American modernist author, owes a debt to the medieval, the Romantic, and the European historical tradition. Archival material covering the first American Rhodes Scholars who came to Oxford during Trinity Term 1919--when Jay Gatsby claims he studied at Oxford--enables the narrative to illuminate a detailed portrait of what a "historical Gatsby" would have looked like, what he would have experienced at the postwar university, and who he would have encountered around Oxford--an impressive array of artists including Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, Winston Churchill, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis.

Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Doubt: A History
The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Paperback      ISBN: 0060097957

In the tradition of grand sweeping histories such as From Dawn To Decadence, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and A History of God, Hecht champions doubt and questioning as one of the great and noble, if unheralded, intellectual traditions that distinguish the Western mind especially-from Socrates to Galileo and Darwin to Wittgenstein and Hawking. This is an account of the world's greatest 'intellectual virtuosos, ' who are also humanity's greatest doubters and disbelievers, from the ancient Greek philosophers, Jesus, and the Eastern religions, to modern secular equivalents Marx, Freud and Darwin--and their attempts to reconcile the seeming meaninglessness of the universe with the human need for meaning,

This remarkable book ranges from the early Greeks, Hebrew figures such as Job and Ecclesiastes, Eastern critical wisdom, Roman stoicism, Jesus as a man of doubt, Gnosticism and Christian mystics, medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian skeptics, secularism, the rise of science, modern and contemporary critical thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, the existentialists.

The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey
The Dream Palace of the Arabs
A Generation's Odyssey
Paperback      ISBN: 0375704744

From Fouad Ajami, an acclaimed author and chronicler of Arab politics, comes a compelling account of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to introduce cultural renewals in their homelands through the forces of modernity and secularism. Ultimately, they came to face disappointment, exile, and, on occasion, death. Brilliantly weaving together the strands of a tumultuous century in Arab political thought, history, and poetry, Ajami takes us from the ruins of Beirut's once glittering metropolis to the land of Egypt, where struggle rages between a modernist impulse and an Islamist insurgency, from Nasser's pan-Arab nationalist ambitions to the emergence of an uneasy Pax Americana in Arab lands, from the triumphalism of the Gulf War to the continuing anguished debate over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

For anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East, here is an insider's unflinching analysis of the collision between intellectual life and political realities in the Arab world today.
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
The Greater Journey
Americans in Paris
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 1416571760
The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring--and until now, untold--story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, "Not all pioneers went west." Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything. There he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life.

Two staunch friends, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse, worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Cooper writing and Morse painting what would be his masterpiece. From something he saw in France, Morse would also bring home his momentous idea for the telegraph.

Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans launched his spectacular career performing in Paris at age 15. George P. A. Healy, who had almost no money and little education, took the gamble of a lifetime and with no prospects whatsoever in Paris became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln.

Medical student Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote home of his toil and the exhilaration in "being at the center of things" in what was then the medical capital of the world. From all they learned in Paris, Holmes and his fellow "medicals" were to exert lasting influence on the profession of medicine in the United States.

Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all "discovering" Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city's boulevards and gardens. "At last I have come into a dreamland," wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom's Cabin had brought her. Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris and even more atrocious nightmare of the Commune. His vivid account in his diary of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris (drawn on here for the first time) is one readers will never forget. The genius of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the son of an immigrant shoemaker, and of painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three of the greatest American artists ever, would flourish in Paris, inspired by the examples of brilliant French masters, and by Paris itself.

Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens's phrase, longed "to soar into the blue." The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece.
Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History
Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning
The Great War in European Cultural History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0521496829

Jay Winter's powerful and substantial new study of the "collective remembrance" of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Using a wide variety of literary, artistic and architectural evidence, Dr. Winter looks anew at the ways, many of them highly traditional, in which communities endeavored to find collective solace after the carnage of the First World War. The result is a profound and moving book, of seminal importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.