Lies, Passions, and Illusions
The Democratic Imagination in the Twentieth Century
This conversation would be, sadly, Furet’s last—he died while Ricoeur was completing his edits. Ricoeur did not want to publish his half without Furet’s approval, so what remains is Furet’s alone, an astonishingly cohesive meditation on the political passions of the twentieth century. With strokes at once broad and incisive, he examines the many different trajectories that nations of the West have followed over the past hundred years. It is a dialogue with history as it happened but also as a form of thought. It is a dialogue with his critics, with himself, and with those major thinkers—from Tocqueville to Hannah Arendt—whose ideas have shaped our understanding of the tragic dramas and upheavals of the modern era. It is a testament to the crucial role of the historian, a reflection on how history is made and lived, and how the imagination is a catalyst for political change. Whether new to Furet or deeply familiar with his work, readers will find thought-provoking assessments on every page, a deeply moving look back at one of the most tumultuous periods of history and how we might learn and look forward from it.
“One of the most influential men in contemporary France. . . . Nothing will ever be as it was before he came along.”
Introduction: François Furet and Paul Ricoeur:
A Dialogue Interrupted Christophe Prochasson
Ideas and Emotions
The End of a World?
On the Nation: The Universal and the Particular
The Socialist Movement, the Nation, and the War
The Past and the Future of the Revolution
The Historian’s Pursuit
The Seductions of Bolshevism
Critique of Totalitarianism
Learning from the Past