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The Memory Chalet by [Judt, Tony]
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The Memory Chalet Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 244 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"[A] tremendously moving memorial to a first-class historian and essayist... humane, fearless, unsparingly honest."
--The Financial Times

"Each of these beautifully crafted pieces presents a self-contained vignette. Together they form a picture of an age, seen through the prism of an extraordinary mind... Judt never pretended that the illness that befell him was a hidden blessing. 'Loss is loss, and nothing is gained by calling it a nicer name.' But if tragedy cannot be redeemed it can sometimes be defied, as Judt confirms in this exquisitely graceful memoir of a happy life."
--The Daily Beast

"More than a memoir, [The Memory Chalet is] a bracing spiritual autobiography of a man whose lofty and old-fashioned goal, repeatedly realized in these pages, was to think for himself - and push each of us to do the same."
--Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"[B]oth an autobiography and a lovely little social history of the second half of the 20th century... all in a spare and nicely demotic prose."

"Despite his stature as a 'public intellectual, ' Judt's observations in this collection are more impressionistic than analytical. For the most part, he's not arguing points but simply re-savoring the things that once pleased him... This is a memorable collection from a memorable man."

Book Description

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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 689 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1446409341
  • 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: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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Format: Hardcover
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.
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