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Foregone Conclusions: Against Apocalyptic History
by Michael Andre Bernstein
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Michael Andr Bernstein's passionate denunciation of apocalyptic thinking provides a moral, philosophical, and literary challenge to the way most of us make sense of our worlds. In our search for coherence, Bernstein argues, we tend to see our lives as moving toward a predetermined fate. This "foreshadowing" demeans the variety, the richness, and especially the unpredictability of everyday life. Apocalyptic history denies the openness and choice available to its actors. Bernstein chooses the Holocaust as the prime example of our tendency toward foregone conclusions. He argues eloquently against politicians and theologians who depict the Holocaust as foreordained and its victims as somehow implicated in a fate they should have been able to foresee. But his argument ranges wider. From recent biographies of Kafka to the Israeli-P.L.O. peace accords, from campus cultural diversity debates to the Crown Heights riots, Bernstein warns against our passive acceptance of historical or personal victimization. An essential contribution to Holocaust studies, this book is also a lucid call to transform the way we read and write history and the way we make sense of our lives.
From the Back Cover
"Reading this book makes us people of our own time and not passive figures swept along by time and history." (Yehuda Amichai)
About the Author
Michael André Bernstein is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. His other books include Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero (1992), and a volume of poetry, Prima della Rivoluzione (1984).
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