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Koestler by Michael Scammell
Dec 29, 2009 | ISBN 9781588369017

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  • Dec 29, 2009 | ISBN 9781588369017

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“Arthur Koestler exposed his mind and body to the fearful spectrum of twentieth-century ideology like a healthy man volunteering for a life of radiation therapy. He left behind his books, trays of x-rays in black and white, strangely beautiful and dreadfully revealing. Scammell’s admirable biography gives full run to Koestler’s body, mind, and work, and so helps us to see modern intellectual politics in its mesmerizing brilliance and depth.”—Timothy Snyder, Professor of History, Yale

“There is virtually no current of twentieth-century achievement and conflict to which Arthur Koestler did not contribute in a creative and clairvoyant way. Darkness at Noon may have changed history. To Koestler’s manifold passions and anguish this finely researched, incisive biography does justice—where justice is the key and challenging requirement. Michael Scammell has produced a compelling, intensely gripping study. Even the porcupine-tempered Koestler would have been proud.”—George Steiner

“Elegant…A fine biography that leaves few leaves unturned, and that should revive interest in Koestler’s work.”—Kirkus, starred review

“Scammell has set the stage for the rediscovery of a great writer.”—Booklist, starred review

“As Scammell’s fantastic account makes clear, Koestler was hardly a skeptic. He was an impassioned believer who swerved this way and that—Zionism, communism, anticommunism, science, and-pseudoscience—searching for the absolute that would save him (and us all)”—Newsweek

“A prodigy of research in many languages, and a scrupulous piece of fairminded advocacy.” —New Yorker

“Scammell’s ‘Koestler’ is unlikely to be surpassed. This is Koestler in full—sins and virtues measured fairly and thoughtfully. Can a man with such flaws be a great man? As a friend noted: ‘Koestler was the embodiment of an uncompromised, unafraid, international idealism.’ There can be no greater compliment.” —Wall Street Journal

“Judicious and insightful.”—San Francisco Chronicle

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