When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 by Tony Judt

When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 by Tony Judt

In an age in which the lack of independent public intellectuals has often been sorely lamented, the historian Tony Judt played a rare and valuable role, bringing together history and current events, Europe and America, what was and what is with what should be. In When the Facts Change, Tony Judt’s widow and fellow historian Jennifer Homans has assembled an essential collection of the most important and influential pieces written in the last fifteen years of Judt’s life, the years in which he found his voice in the public sphere. Included are seminal essays on the full range of Judt’s concerns, including Europe as an idea and in reality, before 1989 and thereafter; Israel, the Holocaust and the Jews; American hyperpower and the world after 9/11; and issues of social inclusion and social justice in an age of increasing inequality.

From Tablet Magazine:

Now these essays have been published in book form, in When the Facts Change: Essays 1995-2010; and reading Judt’s polemics a decade or so after they were first published is a useful way of putting them into perspective. It becomes clear, for instance, that it was not the novelty or originality of Judt’s ideas that made him so significant a controversialist. Take, for instance, the most argued-over of all his essays, “Israel: The Alternative,” which first appeared in the New York Review in October 2003. Here Judt argued that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank had already made a two-state solution impossible, so that the only way out of the impasse was the creation of a single, binational state in Israel-Palestine. This was by no means a new idea, and in the following years it would be taken up by everyone from Sari Nusseibeh, in his book What Is a Palestinian State Worth?, to Muammar Gaddafi, who called for the creation of a new country to be named “Isratine.”

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