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Distributed for Brandeis University Press

Best of Times, Worst of Times

Memoirs of a Political Education

Walter Laqueur has been writing and teaching for over six decades, primarily in the fields of twentieth century history and politics, always as a shrewd and thoughtful generalist in an age of specialization. In this engaging memoir, Laqueur focuses on the political and historical events that shaped his thinking and that have inspired his intellectual work throughout his life. He discusses living and attending school under Nazism; Marxism, the Soviet Union, and the part he played in Cold War politics; and the image his generation had of Zionism, Israel, and the Middle East. Laqueur shares his views on beltway politics and think tanks, and concludes with a look at guerrilla warfare and terrorism, and the future of Europe.

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Table of Contents

Preface • A Surfeit of Politics; or, Why I Would Have Preferred the Nineteenth Century • Growing Up under the Nazis; or, Why One Had to Be There to Understand It • Marxism, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War; or, The Dream That Failed • The Downfall and Partial Resurgence of the Soviet Empire; or, The Strange Fortunes of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, “Finlandization,” and Putinism • A Middle East Education; or, Reflections on Arabia, Israel, Zionism, and Antisemitism • Think Tanks and Political Intelligence; or, Why It Is So Difficult to Predict • Guerrilla Warfare and Terrorism; or, What Systematic Study and Theory Can Mean • Europe, 1945– 2008; or, A Short Study in Hope and Frustration • Postface • Works by Walter Laqueur • Index

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