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Stranger on the Square (Abacus Books) Paperback – 25 Apr 1985

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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus Books (Sphere); New edition edition (25 April 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349121249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349121246
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 749,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Genius from the World War II generation 30 May 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I first encountered Arthur Koestler after watching a video about a month ago on the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, made in 1995, titled "I just wasn't made for these times." Wilson mentions a book written by Koestler on creativity. Koestler was of the World War II generation, but I have probably ignored him to my
own detriment. Still, I doubt that anyone will read this review. Most of his books are now in storage at my public library. He was an eclectic writer particularly in his later life, and his early life was extremely interesting and perilous. But he has since been replaced by other contemporary authors of high intellect,men like Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan, to name two. He was born in Hungary and lived in several different countries in the years leading up to World War II. He was an intellectual journalist, particularly interested in science, who was an early opponent of Naziism, but an early supporter of Communism in the 1930's, later abandoning his faith in Stalin. From this era came his most famous book, "Darkness At Noon" also a successful play on Broadway. He supported the Communists and was imprisoned during the Spanish Civil War, and was later placed in a dentention camp by the French. Later he travelled to Jerusalem, but he spent most of the World War II years as a soldier in Britain. As I recall, he was married twice before meeting Cynthia, who worked as his secretary. He met most of Europe's leading intellectuals including Sartre, Camus,de Beauvoir, Bertrand
Russell, Dylan Thomas, and was frequently involved in and wrote about intellectual causes which would most accurately be described as pacifist or in the interest of worldwide intellectual freedom and peace following World War II. In the 1950's as described in the book he supported a British movement to abolish the death penalty and later supported a euthanasia movement.
He lived in Paris, in London, and also in the United States for several years. He wrote several volumes of an autobiography which was quite complex. In his latter years, beyond the scope of this book, he became interested in research in the sciences, some of which one might describe as obscure, such as parapsychology, others such as psychological theory were merely current. His wrote historical biographies of famous scientists. All in all an interesting life,and though he was a writer by trade, his life was perhaps more like a movie star, perhaps Elizabeth Taylor. He had many female companions , and part of Cynthia's role was to protect him and his interests. The book alternates chapters in part one between Koestler and Cynthia; part two is written entirely by Cynthia.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Koestler aged and lost 17 Sep 2001
By R Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Koestler led an interesting life, but here is perhaps the duller part of his life. The biography is quite clearly unfinished, and unpolished. Cynthia, his wife who wrote the second part of the book is quite obviously besotted and under the control of Koestler (Koestler's relations with women were seldom sympathetic). It talks of the more mundane middle class lifestyle that Koestler got into, perhaps compensating for all the upheavals of his younger days. But by the time this was written most of Koestler's creativity was over and done, with even on scientific matters and capital punishment. Euthanasia and suicide was his last cause and one that overshadows this book... as it does unconsciously his relations with females...
Both Arthur and his wife, died in a suicide pact while this book was being written. AK was greatly dehabilitated and in pain at the end, but the controversy remains as to why Cynthia joined him in death and did AK bully her into it?
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