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The Memory Chalet
 
 

The Memory Chalet [Kindle Edition]

Tony Judt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 8.99
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Product Description

Review

"Witty, profound, controversial... Wonderfully written... A wellspring of enlightenment you need to spend time with" (Peter Preston Observer)

"Tony Judt, had a wonderful prose style, and his little book The Memory Chalet, a collection of autobiographical essays, is beautiful and moving. Although Judt, who suffered from motor neurone disease, died earlier this year, this late work is more sustaining than sad" (John Banville Guardian, Books of the Year)

"Quintessentail Judt: humane, fearless, unsparingly honest" (Financial Times)

"The book is simultaneously awe-inspiring and almost too painful to bear... His head, that of a great historian, political writer and charismatic intellectual, was a treasure house" (Diana Athill Literary Review)

"A book to treasure... Witty, profound, contraversial" (Observer)

Book Description

A collection of stirring, poignant personal essays from Tony Judt, one of our leading historians.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 279 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (4 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0048EK3WY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting memoir to a great historian 18 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is a wonderful book and reminds us, if we need any reminding, that we have lost, with Tony Judt's untimely death in August, perhaps the foremost historian of our troubled times.The Memory Chalet is a memoir that traces Judt's life from a secular Jewish childhood in South London to his last years as the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University. Each short chapter is arranged thematically and his descriptions of Putney, of solitary excursions to the countryside on the then publicly owned Green Line Buses, trolleybuses and British Rail as well as his other childhood and adolescent recollections of life in the 1950s and early 1960s tenderly evoke a Britain where there was still a sense of public purpose and community now largely replaced by a culture of individual selfishness and what Judt terms an "impoverished view of community - the `togetherness' of consumption". But what distinguishes this book is Judt's wit, humanity and wisdom. As he takes us through his education at Cambridge and the Ecole Normale Superieure and his life teaching in Oxford and later in America there are astute critiques of today's emphasis on utilitarian approaches to secondary and higher education whose justification is almost solely in terms of education's contribution to the economy and the level of salary of its beneficiaries. And there is an underlying anger in the book at the growth of inequality in Anglo-American society and of the servitude of politicians and commentators to neo-liberal capitalism and unregulated market orthodoxy.

Both The Memory Chalet and Judt's advocacy of a modernized social democratic politics,Ill fares the Land, published earlier this year, were composed while he was totally immobilized by the motor neuron disease that was to lead to his death within a few months of their publication. The books are a testament to his courage and a fitting memorial to a great historian and a wise and humane man.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reminiscences 15 Jan 2011
Format:Hardcover
A captivating little book of recollections, reminiscences, reflections and essays. They are delightful and warm, even uplifting, although the background for the book is sad: while dictating the stories, the author Tony Judt was dying from ALS, a motor neuron disease that in a short span of time killed his body, but left his mind intact. Reconstructing memories and delightful short stories was for him a way of enduring pain.

In an interview shortly before passing away, he says what we all know :`I was always good with words'; and he imagines his children reading the stories decades from now, and say: `This was our dad.'
I believe that the stories will continue to remind us of life's beauty. Perhaps Tony saw it more clearly knowing that there was so little time left. From my own childhood, I remember H C Andersen's little Match Girl, who in her last moments saw what escapes the rest of us: `No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen ...'
Readers of Tony Judt's other books, `Postwar' the best known of them, will recall an unparalleled master of the English language. That alone gives me much reading pleasure. It is a book you enjoy the second time as well. We are all able to recognize the themes in the stories; for Tony, early childhood in London, austerity, busses, school, trains, and Cambridge, but only Tony Judt can infuse the stories with humanity and keep us in stitches.

For some years, I have enjoyed Tony Judt's essays and reviews in New York Review of Books; and I will miss them, sorely. My favorite bookstore and coffee shop has New York Review of Books displayed, a new one each week. I couldn't wait to read the next one of his essays. (Some are now collected in a separate book, called Reappraisals.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author while writing the book completed in May 2010 was terminally ill afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a neurogenerative disorder and died in August. The disease left him completely paralysed with intact only the clarity of his mind. He dictated the essays not with a view to publishing them but rather as an escape of the present through reconstructing memories of the past. The book comprise 25 essays and a time span of fifty years from his early childhood in the early fifties to his full maturity in the early 21st century. The book is at the same time the swan song work of Tony Judt and a minor classic.

The author, Historian Tony Judt, was educated at Cambridge and Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris and taught at Cambridge, Oxford, Berkeley, and New York University.

The fascination of the book to me emanated from a unique and gratifying combination of English pragmatism and continental intellectualism possibly reflecting his educational experience. His writing style is graceful, elegant, imbued with ethos and public morality, vivid, witty, succinct, and possesses strong presence, individuality, and originality.

In the book parade essays of childhood memories, houses and Swiss Chalets, Food, cars, bus lines, railways, schools and teachers, University experiences in England and France, his disillusionment from a foray into a Kibbutz,his encounter with the New World and with East European intellectuals.

Early in the book and the essay on 'Austerity' we are intimated with the poverty prevailing in the early years post World War II which was well tolerated by the population because they were equitably deprived and were privileged by the morality of the political leadeship.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More than memory
I have always liked Tony Judt's work. It is full of insight, humour and hope. How he managed to do this whilst suffering so acutely is beyond belief. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tim Ollier
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book by a Fascinating Intellect
A series of recollections on a variety of subjects, dictated by Tony Judt as he lay dying from a motor neurone disease. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr. R. Brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read from the perspective of Motor Neurone Disease
The author places in the position of someone seriously ill with consummate skill but reviews his life without a trace of self pity indeed the book is redolent with sardonic... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roland Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Suffering and acceptances teaches us how to live and be happy
One of the most inspired books about life and death I have ever read. Youth and adulthood evoked without bitterness or self indulgency during a terminal illness. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Agustin Blanco-Bazan
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This book is a 'must' I found it fascinating and informative, some areas of which took me back to my youth being of a similar age. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. A. M. Beard
2.0 out of 5 stars Not redeemed by the solemnity of its context
It seems mean and nasty to write a damning review of a book written by an acclaimed intellectual in what was more or less his dying moments. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jezza
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
How good to find something so well written at this time. Poignant but very interesting. Makes one appreciate what one has and also to understand better the ghastly suffering... Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Hugg
5.0 out of 5 stars It is moving
And as usual, personnally honest and with such depth that i can not read more than a few pages a time.
Published 15 months ago by Gafarot
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite
Seems to me to be more of an anti-England reflection (sort of the reverse of looking back with rose tinted spectacles). Read more
Published 15 months ago by Tim Kidd
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate memoir
I can only echo the other reviews here to affirm that this is a marvellous memoir. As you probably already know, the late Tony Judt dictated this memoir in the grip of the terminal... Read more
Published 18 months ago by F Henwood
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