Isaac and Isaiah The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic David Caute

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
14 Jun 2013
ISBN:
9780300192094
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
352 pages: 235 x 156mm

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Rancorous and highly public disagreements between Isaiah Berlin and Isaac Deutscher escalated to the point of cruel betrayal in the mid-1960s, yet surprisingly the details of the episode have escaped historians’ scrutiny. In this gripping account of the ideological clash between two of the most influential scholars of Cold War politics, David Caute uncovers a hidden story of passionate beliefs, unresolved antagonism, and the high cost of reprisal to both victim and perpetrator.

Though Deutscher (1907–1967) and Berlin (1909–1997) had much in common—each arrived in England in flight from totalitarian violence, quickly mastered English, and found entry into the Anglo-American intellectual world of the 1950s—Berlin became one of the presiding voices of Anglo-American liberalism, while Deutscher remained faithful to his Leninist heritage, resolutely defending Soviet conduct despite his rejection of Stalin’s tyranny. Caute combines vivid biographical detail with an acute analysis of the issues that divided these two icons of Cold War politics, and brings to light for the first time the full severity of Berlin’s action against Deutscher.

David Caute, former fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, is a historian whose recent books include Politics and the Novel during the Cold War and The Dancer Defects. He lives in London.

“Readers . . . will find themselves informed and absorbed by Mr. Caute's portrait of the intellectual battles of the Cold War.”—Adam Kirsch, Wall Street Journal

“What could have been a minor academic squabble is transformed here into a wide-ranging discussion of some of the major ideological disputes of the 20th century – Marxism, Zionism, liberalism and the significance of the Russian revolution.”—The Economist

“Trenchant, engaging . . . sharply argued . . . The author’s wit and biting analysis render this a most readable study.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A riveting account . . . of an intellectual feud for the ages.”—David Mikics, Los Angeles Review of Books

 “As a picture of the intellectual life of half a century, Isaac and Isaiah is a beguiling guide, superbly written and never less than absorbing.”—Ferdinand Mount, The Spectator

“The strength of Caute’s book lies primarily in its interweaving of central ideological issues in the Cold War debate with pertinent biographical details concerning his two chief protagonists.”—Robert S. Wistrich, Standpoint Magazine

“The book I most enjoyed was David Caute’s Isaac and Isaiah. Caute transforms an academic squabble between Isaiah Berlin and Isaac Deutscher into a wide-ranging analysis of the ideological disputes of the 20th century – Marxism, the significance of the Russian revolution, liberalism and Zionism.”—Vernon Bogdanor, THES, Book of the Year

“Compelling. . . . Caute has done a superb job of capturing the world of Berlin and Deutscher in readable and lively prose.”—George Crowder, Review of Politics