Isaac & Isaiah

Isaac & Isaiah

The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic

By David Caute

Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300192094, 335pp.

Publication Date: August 2013


Rancorous and highly public disagreements between Isaiah Berlin and Isaac Deutscher escalated to the point of cruel betrayal in the mid-1960s, yet surprisingly the details of the episode have escaped historians scrutiny. In this gripping account of the ideological clash between two of the most influential scholars of Cold War politics, David Caute uncovers a hidden story of passionate beliefs, unresolved antagonism, and the high cost of reprisal to both victim and perpetrator.

Though Deutscher (1907 1967) and Berlin (1909 1997) had much in common each arrived in England in flight from totalitarian violence, quickly mastered English, and found entry into the Anglo-American intellectual world of the 1950s Berlin became one of the presiding voices of Anglo-American liberalism, while Deutscher remained faithful to his Leninist heritage, resolutely defending Soviet conduct despite his rejection of Stalin's tyranny. Caute combines vivid biographical detail with an acute analysis of the issues that divided these two icons of Cold War politics, and brings to light for the first time the full severity of Berlin's action against Deutscher.

About the Author
David Caute is a former Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and Henry Fellow at Harvard. A visiting professor at Columbia, NYU and University of California, Irvine, his most recent work is The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy During the Cold War.

Praise For Isaac & Isaiah

“Trenchant, engaging . . . sharply argued . . . The author’s wit and biting analysis render this a most readable study.”—Kirkus Reviews