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`Graceful and gigantic... a fascinating tour through the subtlety, integrity and brave honesty of Todorov's thought.' New York Times Book Review. In Facing the Extreme, the internationally renowned writer and critic Tzvetan Todorov focuses on the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet gulag to examine our capacity for moral behaviour. Drawing widely on the testimonies of eyewitnesses and survivors, Todorov creates a vivid portrait of the conduct of those who ran the camps and those who suffered their outrages. Challenging the widespread view that moral life is extinguished in such extreme circumstances, he uncovers instead a rich universe composed not of grand acts but of innumerable ordinary gestures of dignity and care, compassion and solidarity. Described as `a masterpiece' by Stanley Hoffman in Foreign Affairs, Facing the Extreme restores, in supple, eloquent prose, a dimension of these terrible periods that has been lost to historians and moral philosophers. `Facing the Extreme is very much more than a eulogy to courage; it is a song to life. One of the finest intellectual minds of our time goes beyond the question of why to answer how integrity comes to be.' Gitta Sereny.
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It is an understatement to call the Nazi and Soviet death camps "outposts of hell on earth," as we know from the testimony of a powerful body of witnesses. Todorov looks inside these camps, and there he finds hope for all humankind, arguing that innumerable instances of heroism, self-sacrifice, and caring show that "moral reactions are spontaneous, omnipresent, and eradicable only with the greatest violence" and that "morality cannot disappear without a radical mutation of the human species." Even in a regime of terror and depersonalization, the ordinary virtues survived and sometimes even flourished, Todorov maintains. His wide-ranging study bears him out, and it makes for fascinating reading.About the Author:
Tzvetan Todorov is Director of Research at the Centre National de Recherches in Paris.
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Book Description Trafalgar Square, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0297643061