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Book Title: A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography|
The author of the book: Irving Howe
ISBN 13: 9780156572453
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.47 MB
Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: April 16th 1984
Read full description of the books A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography:I've heard many stories about how Howe was often a miserable person to be around or to have as a comrade. And he definitely comes off as pompous and just generally annoying in this book. But even when he's coming off as a dick, and even when he's very, very wrong on political questions, he's such a pleasure to read.
I think the best part of the book is in the first quarter, when he's describing his time as a Trotskyist. His insights on life in a sect are packed incredibly densely into the pages, and one who's familiar with that world can't help but see the kind of mindset that he describes from small sectarian groups in the 1930s in many such groups today.
He can get pretty boring when he's whining about disputes with other critics. His language, too, becomes less precise, his sentences full of $64,000 words but somewhat vacuous. But those sections pass fairly quickly.
I think he's incredibly thoughtful on his Jewish identity—a question he never fully resolves in his life, never seems fully at ease with. And I don't know much of the history, but I get the sense that he was a much more obnoxiously knee-jerk anti-New Left writer than he portrays himself in the book (though he doesn't exactly make his disputes with New Leftists a secret).
But again, even when he's wrong on those issues, he's still so fun to read. When he's being followed on a daily basis to lunch with his wife by a group of young student leftists who chant hostilely behind their table (ugh, if a bunch of college kids did that to me, I might become a grouchy old right-wing Social Democrat, too [also, what the fuck?! You really couldn't think of anything more politically useful to do with your time than harass a professor who founded a magazine with a circulation of a couple thousand?!]), he spins around and snaps at them, "You know what you're going to end up as? You're going to end up as a dentist!" You can't help but sympathize with Howe—and admit that he was probably right.
For all his faults, Howe never became a dentist.
Read information about the authorIrving Howe was an American literary and social critic and a prominent figure of the Democratic Socialists of America.
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