RaveThe New York Review of BooksAll but four of [these essays] were originally published as separate pieces in The New York Review, but their impact is much enhanced as a single book, a book that is at once memoir, self-portrait, and credo ... Judt expresses affection for the material world in which he grew up, but words, ideas, and human institutions are the real substance of his life ... The most complex feelings expressed in this memoir are about the Jews, Jewishness, and Israel ... But Judt’s dominant identification is with the values of Western liberalism in its social democratic form ... The magnificent and defiant gesture of writing this book in these circumstances is the fitting legacy of an extraordinary man who wanted us to know who he was.
Daniel C. Dennett
PositiveThe New York Review of BooksDennett presents a valuable and typically lucid synthesis of his worldview ... Dennett is always good company. He has a gargantuan appetite for scientific knowledge, and is one of the best people I know at transmitting it and explaining its significance, clearly and without superficiality. He writes with wit and elegance; and in this book especially, though it is frankly partisan, he tries hard to grasp and defuse the sources of resistance to his point of view ... One of Dennett’s most important claims is that most of what we and our fellow organisms do to stay alive, cope with the world and one another, and reproduce is not understood by us or them. It is competence without comprehension ... Even those who find the overall view unbelievable will find much to interest them in this book.