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The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals In Politics Paperback – 15 Sep 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS; Revised edition (15 September 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1681371162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1681371160
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product description


"A skilled exploration of why notable 20th-century European philosophers and intellectuals -- figures such as Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault, among others -- had at times succumbed to what [Lilla] calls 'tyrannophilia, ' a narcissistic embrace of totalitarian politics, assuming that tyrants would put their big ideas into action." --Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post

"The essays that make up Mark Lilla's book . . . are driven by his sense of disappointment, a lover's kind of disappointment, that such profound and influential minds should have been so politically insouciant when confronted by the hectic barbarity of the 20th century. . . . Lilla has a gift for nimble exposition, and each study in his collection is illuminating, often revelatory." --The New York Times Book Review

"Mark Lilla is today the leading intellectual commentator in the United States on European thinkers and ideas. . . . He understands them better than they are understood in their own countries. And often better than they understand themselves." --Die Zeit

"This is important. Lilla's short, elegant and readable book is about what happens when philosophers get tangled up in the real world. It is also a matter of recognizing that the world is in the shape that it is because of the influence of the most rarefied of minds." --Nicolas Lezard, The Guardian, Paperback of the Week

"Lilla's accessible, summary look at eight 20th-century thinkers is a compilation of cautionary tales...shrewd advice...a very canny book showing us how not to think and chew politics at the same time." -- Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"As Mr. Lilla ably shows, what is common to these thinkers is a rejection of political philosophy. They deny the possibility of a patient, sober and rational exploration of political possibilities. And even when they become disillusioned with specific tyrants--Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Khomeini--they continue to reject political moderation and balanced analysis." --Daniel J. Mahoney, The Wall Street Journal

"'Lilla has a gift for nimble exposition, and each study in his collection is illuminating, often revelatory, ' Sunil Khilnani wrote here in 2002." -- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Mark Lilla was born in Detroit in 1956. He is Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and a regular essayist for The New York Review of Books and other publications worldwide. His books include The Stillborn God- Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (2007), The Reckless Mind- Intellectuals in Politics (2001), and G.B. Vico- The Making of an Anti-Modern (1994), as well as The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin (2001) with Ronald Dworkin and Robert B. Silvers. He was the 2015 Overseas Press Club of America winner of the Best Commentary on international News in Any Medium for "On France."

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
C. Derick Varn
4.0 out of 5 starsAn interesting but not entirely cohesive critique of intellectuals in post-war politics
11 October 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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26 people found this helpful
5.0 out of 5 starsPROS and CONS
26 November 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
10 June 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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Vivek Sharma
5.0 out of 5 starsThe essays in this book are often beautifully written and always refreshing to read
3 January 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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6 people found this helpful
Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent book. Not just a critique of liberal failure
11 September 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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3 people found this helpful