Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."





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Friday, April 12, 2019

A PERSONAL DEUTSCHER STORY


A personal Isaac Deutscher story.  Back in 58-61, when I was a young Harvard Instructor, I fell in with a circle of junior faculty who gathered around a lovely senior professor named Bob McCloskey, a Canadian legal scholar.  One of the group was Zbigniev Bzrezinski, then competing [unsuccessfully, as it turned out] with fellow Russian expert Adam Ulam for one senior slot in the Government Department.  [Yes, this is Mika’s father.]  One day Deutscher came to Harvard for a visit, and I, along with several others, had lunch with him and Bzrezinski at Adams House.  Deutscher had been a member of the Polish Communist Party Central Committee before being ousted for Trotskyite sympathies and emigrating to England.  Bzrezinski, who was of course also Polish, was fiercely anti-communist.  It was obvious to all of us that the two detested one another, and a tense conversation took place.  Then, at one point, Deutscher turned to Bzerzinski and snapped something at him in Polish.  It must have been a mortal insult, because Bzrezinski turned white and fell silent, leaving the rest of us to wonder what on earth Deutscher had said.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for jogging me into reading this article on Deutscher in The Nation:
https://www.thenation.com/article/the-red-emigrant/

I've got the 3 volume Isaac Deutcher biography of Trotsky on my shelf. It has sat there for over 4 decades. I keep saying "I'm going to read these" but sadly I have yet to find the time. Life is short and as you can well appreciate, it gets shorter all the time!

Anonymous II said...

Interesting that you should refer to Brzezinski as "Mika's father." Perhaps your audience is youthful enough to require this identification. But to some of us he's the one who (a) competed for political power with Kissinger, and who (b) alongside Carter set the whole murderous Afghanistan show, including 9/11, on the road.

To Anonymous I'd say that reading Deutscher's trilogy might well enhance the time you have left. His biography of Stalin--only a single volume--is also an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

I read the 3 vol. biography The Prophet, around 20 yrs. ago. A great work which deserves my highest recommendation.

Chris said...

I recently re-read the three volume series. Less than six months ago. It's definitely worth it, don't be intimidated by the size and scope, Deutscher is a fantastic writer. If only someone could do for Lenin, what Deutscher did for Trotsky!