Start reading The Memory Chalet on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Memory Chalet [Kindle Edition]

Tony Judt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.64 (52%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £4.35  
Hardcover £13.85  
Paperback £8.99  
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Buy a Kindle book between now and 31 March and receive a promotional code good for one free Kindle book. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more

Book Description

It might be thought the height of poor taste to ascribe good fortune to a healthy man with a young family struck down at the age of sixty by an incurable degenerative disorder from which he must shortly die. But there is more than one sort of luck.

In 2008, historian Tony Judt learnt that he was suffering from a disease that would eventually trap his extraordinary mind in a declining and immobile body. At night, sleepless in his motionless state, he revisited the past in an effort to keep himself sane, and his dictated essays form a memoir unlike any you have read before.

Each one charts some experience or remembrance of the past through the sieve of Tony Judt's prodigious mind. His youthful love of a particular London bus route evolves into a reflection on public civility and interwar urban planning. Memories of the 1968 student riots of Paris meander through the sexual politics of Europe, a series of roadtrips across America lead not just to an appreciation of American history, but to an eventual acquisition of citizenship.

And everything is as simply and beautifully arranged as a Swiss chalet - a reassuring refuge deep in the mountains of memory.

Product Description


"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: 565 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (4 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0048EK3WY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #122,944 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

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
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reminiscences 15 Jan. 2011
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.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories trapped in a man's body... 26 Jan. 2011
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Tony Judt, a British born and educated historian, died in August, 2010, at the age of 62 of ALS. In his final months, he wrote - with the aid of transcribers - a series of essays about his life. Not strictly an autobiography - or even a memoir - the essays provide a touchstone of sorts into the mind of this brilliant man.

The book begins and ends with Switzerland. The holidays in Judt's early years often were taken in the Swiss resort of Chesieres, in the Villers area. He returns to the area - in his mind, at least, because his body can't take the trip - and remembers a chalet his family once stayed in. That chalet - and the memories to brings back to Judt - has remained a "constant" in his life. He compares his life in the current state - completely paralysed - to that chalet in Villers. In between, the essays cover other parts of his life, including his family and education in London and his life since his education at Cambridge. He taught in Paris and spent most of his life, since graduate school, living and teaching in the US. He was a professor at NYU and the author of several noted histories at the time of his death.

Judt died with his mind active in a body that deserted him. How trapped he must have felt. The essays in his book do not give the idea of a life shrinking into itself as much as it does how a shrinking mind expands to look at the world around him. He writes about his secular Jewish family and his youthful Zionism. Even though he continued the family tradition of living in a secular world he maintains enough of a Jewish identity to tell the reader - in one of the final essays - just where his name "Tony" came from. The other essays range from profound and serious to profound and humorous. Just like life, I guess.

"The Memory Chalet" is a group of marvelous, moving essays which come together to give a remarkable man - trapped in terrible circumstances - a way to understand his life. A very moving book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 2 months ago by Costas Kalotaris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful book. Any thoughtful person will welcome it as a present.
Published 3 months ago by Martin Lloyd
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 months 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 13 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 13 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 19 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 23 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 23 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 on 17 Feb. 2013 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 on 11 Jan. 2013 by Jose G.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category