Synopses & Reviews
This book is a contribution to the history of the Cold War, Dr. Birnbaum having been a very audible critic of US policy. Even more, it is a study of the role of ideas in politics, and of the adventures and misadventures of three generations of public intellectuals in Europe and the US. The author, now the senior member of the Editorial Board of The Nation, was a founding editor of New Left Review, a member of the Editorial Board of Partisan Review, and a contributor to Trans-Atlantic debate. He is particularly proud of having been barred from the German Democratic Republic in 1986 for assisting some of the dissidents who eventually ended the regime. Dr. Birnbaum's direct experience of public affairs includes an appointment as Consultant, National Security Council, and advisory roles with the United Auto Workers and Senator Edward Kennedy. He has also been an advisor to the German Trade Union Federation and the Green and Social Democratic Parties, to the French Socialist Party and Spanish Socialist Party, and to the Secretariat for Non-Believers of the Holy See. The text includes portraits of Harvard contemporaries (McGeorge Bundy, Carl Kaysen, Henry Kissinger, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.) as well as of a spectrum of Europeans, including Willy Brandt. Isaiah Berlin, Clement Greenberg, Leszek Kolakowski, Henri Lefebvre, Dwight Macdonald, Herbert Marcuse, Iris Murdoch, William Phillips are equally remembered.