May 15, 2002

GULAG NOSTALGIA :

And the Next Thing Is? Marxism (or not). (Jeremy Lott, 05/13/2002, Books & Culture)
Two years ago, Harvard University Press published a book called Empire, by Michael Hardt, a professor of literature at Duke University, and Antonio Negri, an Italian political philosopher and leftist activist serving a lengthy prison term in Rome. A long, abstruse book described by the catalogue as "a new Communist Manifesto," it made for an incendiary and unlikely bestseller. OK, OK, not a bestseller in the Left Behind sense, but for a while last year--as ads for the paperback edition later proudly proclaimed--you couldn't lay a hand on a copy. Last July, The New York Times ran a glowing profile hailing the arrival of the Next Big Idea, and the buzz in the academic world has continued.

Thankfully, this excellent review will squash any impulse you may have to read the book, but is anyone else bothered by the fact that the publishers bill it as a new Communist Manifesto. Can you imagine a publisher proudly hailing the new Mein Kampf? Yet, after hundreds of millions of dead, what's the real difference between the two : they're both recipes for murder on a massive scale. Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2002 12:09 PM
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