CONFESSIONS OF AN ORIGINAL SINNER

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9780899199566: CONFESSIONS OF AN ORIGINAL SINNER
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A writer and historian describes his journey from 1930s Hungary to the United States, intellectual life in New York City, and his settling in Philadelphia, examining, along the way, fascism, communism, democracy, anti-Semitism, and Christian realism

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In Confessions of an Original Sinner, Hungarian-born historian and writer John Lukacs describes the history of his convictions and beliefs. Born in 1924, Lukacs describes his journey from the Hungary of the 1930s and the ravages of Budapest in World War II to his discovery of America and forays into the intellectual life of New York City, and finally, his settling in Philadelphia. The "passing of the Modern Age" thematically unites Lukacs's nine chapters, which address many of the major currents of our period, including fascism, communism, democracy, anti-Semitism, and Christianity.

Written between 1983 and 1988, Confessions offers reflective, thought-provoking observations from a "man who knows that he is living during the end of an age." Like many immigrant intellectuals, Lukacs maintains a critical skepticism toward his adopted country and a distanced objectivity toward his homeland. As a result, his writings often illustrate the intersection--and frequent collision--of his humanistic European background with the American spirit of independence: "I could not believe that the future of Western civilization was California." Lukacs seamlessly weaves his complex thoughts into an entertaining, provocative narrative. For example, the chapter on "Dwelling" guides the reader from renovating a suburban home to the absurdity of urban sprawl, skepticism about the democratic process, involvement in local politics, the death of a loved one, and disillusion with a decaying social order. With reflections ranging from the individual ("All my life I have felt and recognized the presence of history within descriptive prose") to the universal ("One cannot be deeply bourgeois and deeply Christian at the same time"), Confessions of an Original Sinner challenges and delights at the same time, providing insight into the profound and frequently witty observations of one of our most perceptive thinkers. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack

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". . . a superb guidebook to a rich intellect." -- Wall Street Journal

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Publisher: St Augustine Pr Inc, 2000
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