A Mindful Life

Thinking the Twentieth Century
Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder
Penguin, $36, 432 pp.

Tony Judt would have liked this book to be judged solely on its merits, but it is impossible to read it without being aware of the circumstances in which it was composed. In the fall of 2008, Judt, sixty years old, the father of two young sons, a respected scholar and celebrated public intellectual, learned that he had amyotropic lateral sclerosis, the motor neuron disease conventionally associated with Lou Gehrig. Although the pace may vary, the course of ALS is...

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About the Author

James J. Sheehan, professor emeritus of history at Stanford University, is the author of Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?: The Transformation of Modern Europe, among other books.