Authors Archives: Paul Hollander

Toward A More Rational Left?

It would be difficult to discuss Michael Berube’s latest volume without registering a degree of ambivalence.  On the one hand I am impressed by the author’s honesty, seriousness and efforts to carve out a position that allows him to retain many of his core convictions while criticizing and dissociating himself from what he calls “the Manichean left,” that is, the radical, illiberal left, and its orthodoxies. On the other hand I don’t share many of his core convictions and have additional reservations about the way The Left at War is written and put together. The structure of the book is fuzzy, parts don’t hang together. There are too many detours from the central arguments and themes, too many lengthy quotes both in the text and in the notes and it is not obvious why some arguments and citations are relegated to the Notes. There may be some connection between these organizational problems and the apparent unawareness of the author that this book is likely to be appreciated only by a small number of readers who are familiar with the somewhat esoteric and sectarian preoccupations and disputes among the many branches of the academic left in this country and Britain.

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