When Marx Mattered: An Intellectual Odyssey

1st Edition

Doris Fine, Harold J. Bershady

Published September 25, 2017
Reference - 281 Pages
ISBN 9781138517905 - CAT# Y373836

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A beautifully written, trenchant, and moving memoir, When Marx Mattered follows Harold J. Bershady's odyssey from childhood through his coming of intellectual age. The wounds and pleasures of his childhood include fear of Nazis, poverty, the joys and constraints of Jewishness, his caring family and love of music, and the confusion surrounding World War II. In this book, Bershady describes his teenage encounter with Marxism and how it provided some understanding of the world and hope for peace.

Bershady gives us a serious portrayal of the evolution of scholarly judgment, but also a social history of the second half of the twentieth century, refracted through the author's own experiences in which Jewish Americans played an important but under-appreciated part. Along the way, the author corrects the misapprehension that Jewish or non-Jewish American political radicals only evolve into conservatives. Through his own mistakes and hard-won lessons, Bershady shows the power, importance, and morality that intellectual standards play in enabling an intellectual to achieve sound and fair judgments.

Bershady firmly believes that his achievements in the social sciences are grounded in the fact that he also studied philosophy, literature, and history all of which immeasurably deepened his understanding of social life. The generational portrait in this book is both an homage to those who preceded him and a hope for educational broadening of social science in the generation to come.


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