A Century of Horrors
Communism, Nazism, and the Uniqueness of the Shoah
The twentieth century bears the indelible imprint of both communism and Nazism. Today, it sometimes seems as if the former is all but forgotten, at least among Western elites, while our cultural memory of the latter is an inextinguishable fire. This inequality is surprising and calls out for explanation, a task the French political thinker Alain Besancon attempts here in a wise and elegant meditation. In examining the horror and destruction caused by both of these terrible ideologies, Besancon finds that recourse to theology is necessary if we are to achieve even feeble illumination. He also explains why, even with the full knowledge of the extent of communism's crimes, the uniqueness of the Shoah ought to be accepted without reservation.
Published: May, 2018
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"With a trembling heart but a clear head, Alain Besançon, one of the most acute analysts of communism, inquires into the twin hells of the twentieth century. This confrontation with evil persuasively evolves into a meditation upon what appears as the secret pivot of our history: the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. This is an outstanding contribution that sheds uncommon light on what Augustine called the 'intertwinings of the two cities.' " —Pierre Manent, author of The City of Man"Besançon's profound book shows how, for the sake of its own future, Western political thought has to transcend the legacy of both communism and Nazism by working through the dangerous illusions many still entertain about both of these modern idolatries." —David Novak, author of In Defense of Religious Liberty"With an impressive grasp of the critical issues, and without bogging down in details, Besançon lucidly probes into the comparisons and contrasts between these two ideologies." —Religious Studies Review