Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism

Bernard-Henri Levy, Author, Benjamin Moser, Translator . Random $25 (233p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6435-9

France's leading public intellectual voices vestigial allegiance to the Left—while trashing it—in this convoluted manifesto. Philosopher-journalist Lévy (American Vertigo ) feels a “family” loyalty not to a dead programmatic socialism but to “images,” “events” and “reflexes”—drawn from the Dreyfus Affair, the 1968 upheavals and other historical milestones that expressed the French Left's opposition to racism and fascism, its support of egalitarianism and its attitude of all-embracing moral responsibility. Lévy follows this muted tribute with a harsh critique of present-day leftist politics. Flogging everyone from Noam Chomsky to Cindy Sheehan, the author attacks the Left for its antiliberalism and anti-Americanism (a veiled anti-Semitism, he believes) and for being soft on “Fascislamism,” warning that this “progressivism without progress” adopts the Right's worst features with its isolationism and resistance to humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Darfur. Lévy is a more cerebral—and judicious—Christopher Hitchens; despite his grandiosity, arcane allusions and the high rhetoric of his long, coiling sentences, he is a lucid, cogent polemicist. Although the dudgeon he directs at the diminished sins of a marginalized postcommunist Left seems overdone, Lévy's many American fans will relish it. (Sept. 16)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-8129-7472-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 155 pages - 978-1-58836-757-0
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