Ill Fares the Land

Ill Fares the Land

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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Something is profoundly wrong with the way we think about how we should live today.

In Ill Fares The Land , Tony Judt, one of our leading historians and thinkers, reveals how we have arrived at our present dangerously confused moment. Judt masterfully crystallizes what we've all been feeling into a way to think our way into, and thus out of, our great collective dis-ease about the current state of things.

As the economic collapse of 2008 made clear, the social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America - the guarantee of a basal level of security, stability and fairness -- is no longer guaranteed; in fact, it's no longer part of the common discourse. Judt offers the language we need to address our common needs, rejecting the nihilistic individualism of the far right and the debunked socialism of the past. To find a way forward, we must look to our not so distant past and to social democracy in action: to re-enshrining fairness over mere efficiency.

Distinctly absent from our national dialogue, social democrats believe that the state can play an enhanced role in our lives without threatening our liberties. Instead of placing blind faith in the market-as we have to our detriment for the past thirty years-social democrats entrust their fellow citizens and the state itself.

Ill Fares the Land challenges us to confront our societal ills and to shoulder responsibility for the world we live in. For hope remains. In reintroducing alternatives to the status quo, Judt reinvigorates our political conversation, providing the tools necessary to imagine a new form of governance, a new way of life.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2010
ISBN: 9781594202766
1594202761
Branch Call Number: 909.831 JUD NVD
Characteristics: xvi, 237 p. ; 22 cm

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ser_library Sep 14, 2017

a readable analysis of contemporary western culture.... an important book

g
geomont
Jan 06, 2015

Good followup to his articles over the years in the NYR of Books. A moderate call to arms.

d
dbed
Apr 14, 2014

Judt presented very good arguments for how we got to our present situation, but was a little lacking on suggestions of how to improve the economic outlook for the general population.

fisnik Jul 23, 2012

Loved this book, went out and bought a copy. A must-read for any voter out there. Judt had my respect as a proper academic, not just another crank, thanks to Postwar.

In response to another reviewer, knowledge of economics is not necessary to rate this book. In fact, 'knowledge' of economics is what this book argues against.

Economics was supposed to be a tool for building/improving the society. Now there is no society in our discourse, we only talk about GDP and percentages. Only the tool remains, used increasingly against the very society it was supposed to serve.

p
Patbilly
Mar 21, 2011

I've enjoyed reading this book, but my knowledge of economics is too limited for me to rate it. The book did give some understanding of our society's shortcomings, and a good view of social democracy. Perhaps it's time to take an Economics course as the subject has escaped my attention my whole life.

Read this if you want to look at what may be necessary in future political & social actions.

OPLRalphT Feb 18, 2011

Judt, best known for "Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945," concisely details the need for a society that upholds equality, justice and fairness, something currently missing from our political discourse. After World War II, there was a consensus among even the most conservative economists that society must provide basic needs for everyone and that governments must buffer the extremes of the "free market." Such policies, economists and politicians agreed, were the only way of ensuring against the return of the fascist governments that took over Germany and Italy in the 1920s and '30s. With the economic collapse of recent years as a backdrop, Judt argues passionately that unless we adopt the social democratic (and New Deal) policies that brought prosperity after the war, we may well pave the way for another Hitler or Mussolini, either in Europe, or in America.

2
21288004246712
Sep 17, 2010

if only political debate in North America were half as informative as Judt's book, but his hopes for a return of a social democratic movement are probably wishful thinking

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