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    Description

    Brought to you by Penguin.

    A landmark book that completely transforms our understanding of the crisis of liberalism, from two preeminent intellectuals. 

    Why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance? 

    In the early 1990s, hopes for the eastward spread of liberal democracy were high. And yet the transformation of Eastern European countries gave rise to a bitter repudiation of liberalism itself, not only there but also back in the heartland of the West. 

    In this brilliant work of political psychology, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argue that the supposed end of history turned out to be only the beginning of an Age of Imitation. Reckoning with the history of the last 30 years, they show that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe stems from resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernised. 

    Through this prism, the Trump revolution represents an ironic fulfilment of the promise that the nations exiting from communist rule would come to resemble the United States. In a strange twist, Trump has elevated Putin's Russia and Orbán's Hungary into models for the United States. 

    Written by two preeminent intellectuals bridging the East/West divide, The Light That Failed is a landmark book that sheds light on the extraordinary history of our Age of Imitation. 

    ©2019 Ivan Krastev, Stephen Holmes (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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    Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Light That Failed

    Notations
    Global
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    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars

    Insightful

    A must read for anyone interested in the politics of imitation, and, generally, for a better understanding of the post-Cold War era

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    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      3 out of 5 stars
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    • Amazon Customer
    • 18/07/2020

    Fundamental truths and wrong conclusions

    In trying to explain the crisis of modern liberal democracy in Europe and the growing divide between the East and West part of the continent, "The Light That Failed" presents some fundamental truths and, regrettably, comes to some fundamentally wrong conclusions.

    It's a narrative that is deeply flawed by, what I suspect are Mr. Krastev's writing contributions, incessant criticism of the political course undertaken by Hungary and Poland, while completely glossing over the rest of the region.

    In fact, throughout the book the supposed divide in modern Europe is presented as between the West and those two particular states, the rest of the East being reduced to short remarks such as "and other countries." Many of the factors that have lead to the rise of autocratic populism in Eastern Europe nowadays are correctly determined by the authors - the clash of cultural values stemming back from the Great Schism of Christianity and Europe, the historical fate of eastern nations being subjugated by empires for centuries and lacking strong institutions, the prevalent corruption that is part of national psyche, the precipitous demographic decline, and especially the deep disappointment of the transition to capitalism and the huge inequalities that it brought to these societies.

    Yet, where all of these factors are common throughout the region, the narrative keeps the focus strictly on the "troubled members" of the EU - Poland and, in particular, Viktor Orban's Hungary. Yes, you will hear criticism of Orban frequently and throughout the book, turning what should be an objective analysis of liberal democracy's decline into a treatise of subjective criticism. What makes Poland and Hungary, two countries with significantly higher freedom of speech ratings, social mobility index, median per capita GDP and overall standard of living objectively "worse liberal democracies" and the targets of vehement liberal criticism by the authors than, say, Borisov's Bulgaria - a country roiled in excessive corruption, embezzlement, disruptive socio-economic divisions, and disastrous freedom of speech rating?

    One who's personally familiar with Eastern Europe's modus vivendi, whether due to being a resident of the region (as myself, being a Bulgarian) or a researcher, would remain with the strong sense that what Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev point as the biggest issue of modern European liberalism is daring to voice criticism of the Brussels' brand of liberalism and not what amounts to trumping liberal values underfoot while keeping a strong declarative stance in support of it - as many autocratic Prime Ministers and Presidents other than Duda and Orban do.

    And where this tragic hypocrisy of the West supporting Eastern Europe's current autocratic, corrupt, declarative style-over-substance brand of pseudo-"liberalism" should be the conclusion of the book, it instead divulges into prolonged criticism of just a particular facet of the issue that's easier to swallow for the Western reader/listener.

    What you can take from "The Light that Failed" is some excellent insight into the political turmoil now engulfing the EU, made possible by great effort and research, and some thoughtful insight - and end up with some terrible conclusions that will grossly skew your understanding of the underlying issue.


    Excellent narration by John Sackville! 5/5 for narrator performance.

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    • Yulian
    • 29/05/2020

    The painful story of liberalism’s decline

    This is probably the most insightful book on geopolitics that I have read since Huntington’s Clash of civilizations. A briliant analysis of the post cold war world dynamics, as well as interesting perspectives on Trump and China.

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Amnon Danzig
    • 10/03/2020

    Thought-provoking book. Great

    Many new insights to grasp.
    For me, represent counter-intuitive thinking based on thorough research.
    Well done!

    • Global
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Anonymous User
    • 22/02/2020

    Huh?

    Just how the hell, did these, supposed experts, imagine that a book on the demise of liberal hegemony should center on how stupid those people who ended it are? Am I to understand that the ones protecting the established hegemony were so stupid that they underperformed the very stupid people who bested them?! Silly.
    Despite the excellent performance of the narrator, this book is not worth the space it will take up on your device.

    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
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    • James
    • 01/01/2020

    Solid review of current political trends.

    The book definitely is worth listening to for it’s summary of current political trends mainly in Europe and the US over the last 10 years. The strength is in their reviews of the weakness inherent in both the current “liberal” and “populist” beliefs. Make no mistake, the authors are clearly of the left and believers of the current liberal order but they are able to point out the problems and contradictory ideas of the liberal order. Much of the book is spent criticizing Russia and Putin and making statements such as “Putin’s war on gays” which can be interpreted as a subjective statement presented as proven fact that needs no further discussion. While the book is strong on evaluation the authors really offer no solutions but instruct one to support the liberal agenda regardless of all it’s weaknesses that they have just spend hours noting where it goes wrong. Narration is adequate but not especially enjoyable.