Left in Dark Times
Left in Dark Times
A Stand Against the New Barbarism
Random House, Hardcover, 9781400064359, 256pp.
Publication Date: September 16, 2008
In this unprecedented critique, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of the world’s leading intellectuals revisits his political roots, scrutinizes the totalitarianisms of the past as well as those on the horizon, and argues powerfully for a new political and moral vision for our times. Are human rights Western or universal? Does anti-Semitism have a future, and, if so, what will it look like? And how is it that progressives themselves–those who in the past defended individual rights and fought fascism–have now become the breeding ground for new kinds of dangerous attitudes: an unthinking loathing of Israel; an obsessive anti-Americanism; an idea of “tolerance” that, in its justification of Islamic fanaticism, for example, could become the “cemetery of democracies”; and an indifference, masked by relativism, to the greatest human tragedies facing the world today? Illuminating these and other questions, Lévy also brings to life his own autobiography, highlighting the thinkers he has known and scrutinized and the ideological battles he has fought over thirty years–revealing their bearing on the present.
Above all, Lévy offers a powerful new vision for progressives everywhere, one based neither on the failed idealisms of the past neither nor on their current misguided, bigoted, and dangerously sentimental attachments but on an absolute commitment to combat evil in all its guises. The “new barbarism” Levy compellingly diagnoses is real and must be confronted. At a time of ideological and political transition in America, Left in Dark Times is a polemical, incendiary articulation of the threats we all face–in many cases without our even being aware of it–and a riveting, cogent stand against those threats. Surprising and sure to be controversial, wise and free of cynicism, it is one of the most important books yet written by one of the crucial voices of our time.
Praise for Bernard-Henri Lévy’s American Vertigo
“An entertaining trip, as much in the tradition of Jack Kerouac as Tocqueville.”
–The New York Times
“Perceptive, pugnacious, passionate [and] exquisitely written.”
–The New York Observer
“It’s difficult to remember when a writer of any nationality so clearly and thoughtfully delineated both the good and bad in America. [Grade:] A.”
–Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)
“Lévy is a true friend of the American experiment and a comrade in the American struggle against the barbarisms.”
–The New Republic
“Lévy writes brilliantly. American Vertigo is filled with insights and goodwill.”
–The Wall Street Journal
“Provocative . . . [Lévy is] a writer of enormous power and vitality.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“Vigorous . . . impressive.”
–The Boston Globe
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. He was hailed by Vanity Fair magazine as “Superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the United States.” Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, and Who Killed Daniel Pearl? His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. His films include the documentaries Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racism and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.
“[Lévy’s] memories interlace with reflections on his long career of political activism . . . and are studded with passionately held positions on every issue current on the world stage. Whether or not you agree with him . . . you will be convinced of this: Ideas matter to him.”—New York Observer
“Lévy offers as fine a description as you’re likely to find anywhere of what the conventional international left . . . has adopted as its worldview. . . . [His] discussion of contemporary anti-Semitism is sophisticated, detailed and convincing.”—Los Angeles Times
“Continually asking himself as well as others to confront the hard questions, [Lévy] produces a text that . . . readers will find highly absorbing.”—New York Times Book Review
“Moving and inspiring . . . When political leaders commit atrocities, intellectuals remind the world of right and wrong. . . . Bernard-Henri Lévy, perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today, seeks to revive this tradition of speaking truth to power.”—Boston Globe