FROM THE BRONX TO OXFORD AND NOT QUITE BACK

FROM THE BRONX TO OXFORD AND NOT QUITE BACK

Norman Birnbaum

New Academia Publishing/VELLUM Books, 2018
722 Pages, 28 photos
ISBN 978-0-9986433-4-2 paperback
ISBN 978-0-9986433-5-9 hardcover

See inside for an excerpt from the book

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$32.00 paperback

$42.00 hardcover

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About the author

Norman Birnbaum is University Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University Law Center. He was on the founding Editorial Board of New Left Review, later on the board of Partisan Review, and is senior member of the Editorial Board of The Nation.

He has a doctorate in sociology from Harvard. He also taught at Amherst College, the London School of Economics, Oxford University, the University of Strasbourg, and the University of Bologna, and is Chair of the Scholarly Advisory Board, International Institute of Peace, Vienna.

His most recent book, After Progress: American Social Reform and European Socialism in the Twentieth Century (Oxford), was also published in German and Spanish. Other works include Searching For The Light: Essays In Thought and Culture, The Radical Renewal, The Politics of Ideas in Modern America, Toward a Critical Sociology, and The Crisis of Industrial Society.

He continues to publish in US and European journals and newspapers.

About the book

This book is a contribution to the history of the Cold War, Dr. Birnbaum having been a very audible critic of US policy. Even more, it is a study of the role of ideas in politics, and of the adventures and misadventures of three generations of public intellectuals in Europe and the US. The author, now the senior member of the Editorial Board of The Nation, was a founding editor of New Left Review, a member of the Editorial Board of Partisan Review, and a contributor to Trans-Atlantic debate. He is particularly proud of having been barred from the German Democratic Republic in 1986 for assisting some of the dissidents who eventually ended the regime. Dr. Birnbaum’s direct experience of public affairs includes an appointment as Consultant, National Security Council, and advisory roles with the United Auto Workers and Senator Edward Kennedy. He has also been an advisor to the German Trade Union Federation and the Green and Social Democratic Parties, to the French Socialist Party and Spanish Socialist Party, and to the Secretariat for Non-Believers of the Holy See. The text includes portraits of Harvard contemporaries (McGeorge Bundy, Carl Kaysen, Henry Kissinger, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.) as well as of a spectrum of Europeans, including Willy Brandt. Isaiah Berlin, Clement Greenberg, Leszek Kolakowski, Henri Lefebvre, Dwight Macdonald, Herbert Marcuse, Iris Murdoch, William Phillips are equally remembered.

Praise

“With his unique mixture of acute analysis, sardonic humor and human judgments, the author enabled me to re-imagine the tumultuous years of our recent past. His picture of Germany and his personal account of New York intellectual life are especially intriguing. This is a good volume to peruse in our present period of political ineptitude and tone-deafness.”

—Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard University, author, The Future of Faith and The Market as God, Harvard University Press, 2016.

 

“An astonishing memoir. Here is the political and intellectual life of American and Europe over more than sixty years, a kaleidoscope of connections, comrades and correspondence, all linked by the Ariadne's thread of Norman's life.”

—James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.

 

“This memoir is a testament to American exceptionalism. There has been no public American intellectual like Norman Birnbaum, no one who has taught, done research, and entered public struggles in every major European country while also connecting with oppositional groups in New York and Washington D.C. Nor has anyone else, with wit and interpretive focus, connected such a panoply of experience with the major currents of the last half of the Twentieth Century.”

—Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist and author, winner of the National Book Award for Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima and The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (Basic Books 2000). His forthcoming book is The Climate Swerve: Reflections on Mind, Hope, and Survival (The New Press, 2017).

 

“Without peer, Norman Birnbaum has educated generations of Americans about the politics of Europe, just as he has illuminated scholars, political thinkers and statesmen of Europe about the United States and world politics in general.”

—Marcus Raskin, Distinguished Fellow and co-founder, Institute for Policy Studies.

 

“At ninety-one, the author is true to himself: a thinker at home on both sides of the Atlantic. He provides us with unique and vivid sketches of the movements and persons he has influenced. His vocation as a teacher who takes the world as a classroom is a gift across the generations: he influences us still.”

—Gerhard Schröder, Former Chancellor, the Federal German Republic.