Intellectuals

Paul Johnson, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.5 (385p) ISBN 978-0-06-016050-0
Written from a conservative standpoint, these pummeling profiles of illustrious intellectuals are caustic, skewed, thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging. The author of A History of the World skeptically weighs each pundit's moral and judgmental credentials to give advice to humanity. He plays up the personal shortcomings of Marx, a failed academic given to pseudoscientific jargon, habitual anger and dictatorial habits; Sartre, a spoiled only child, existentialist philosopher of action who did nothing of consequence for the French Resistance and never lifted a finger to save the Jews; pacifist Bertrand Russell, who repeatedly advocated ``preventative'' nuclear war against Stalinist Russia between 1945 and 1949; Hemingway, whose adolescent rejection of his parents' religion is said to have triggered his secular ethic of action and violence. This rogues' gallery includes ``notorious liar'' Lillian Hellman; self-publicists Norman Mailer and Bertolt Brecht; leftist publisher Victor Gollancz, ``a monster of self-deception''; Shelley, Rousseau, Tolstoy, Ibsen, others. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-06-091657-2
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