Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, 1928-78

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9780060910297: Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, 1928-78

Why have noted Western intellectualsofrom George Bernard Shaw to Jean-Paul Sartre to Susan Sontagoembraced the vision of various "revolutionary" societies, often in their most repressive historical phase, while downgrading (and yet enjoying) the benefits of Western liberal pluralistic political cultures? How have the delusions and dreams of many Western observers of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other socialist states contributed to a moral and political double standard? Paul Hollander explores these crucial questions in a remarkable study of travel reports on socialist countries written by Western visitors. Observing that political pilgrims represent a tradition of seeking alternatives to flawed social arrangements at home, Hollander also suggests that underlying these visits is a quest for meaning, purpose, and sense of community that intellectuals feel increasingly deprived of in secular and individualistic societies in the West. Political Pilgrims, listed among "The Notable Books of the Year" in the New York Times Book Review, is a provocative study of the relationship between political commitment, perception, and moral sensibility. Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1981.

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A horribly funny book...to be kept close at hand and reread whenever we are told of a land where power is wielded in a new way, where the human soul is re-engineered and human nature uplifted. -- Richard Grenier, The New Republic The Washington Post Stunning reading...a long overdue cautionary tale warning Western intellectuals against a systematic denigration of their own societies to the advantage of others, secretive and remote, about which they know next to nothing, but which they nonethelessvenerate as shining triumphs of the human spirit...Professor Hollander has not merely written an excellent book. He has rendered a service to the Republic. -- Richard Grenier, The New Republic Stunning reading...a long overdue cautionary tale warning Western intellectuals against a systematic denigration of their own societies to the advantage of others, secretive and remote, about which they know next to nothing, but which they nonetheless venerate as shining triumphs of the human spirit...Professor Hollander has not merely written an excellent book. He has rendered a service to the Republic. -- Richard Grenier, The New Republic A horribly funny book...to be kept close at hand and reread whenever we are told of a land where power is wielded in a new way, where the human soul is re-engineered and human nature uplifted. -- Richard Grenier, The New Republic The Washington Post

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Hollander, Paul
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