Professor Tony Judt, deceased

October 11, 2010

A few weeks before the school year started, I read in the NY Times (August 7) that Professor Tony Judt had passed away. He was 62 and had been suffering for some years from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Something like this would not have caught my eye except that I had happened to have the good fortune to listen to the interview that Professor Judt had given to Fresh Air back on March 29. It was riveting. The charismatic, razor-sharp intellect set inside a nearly lifeless, almost entirely unwilling, body. A few weeks later, I replayed the interview for my wife during a long car trip.

I had checked my college’s library for his newest book, “Ill Fares the Land,” after I had heard the interview. It so happened that we didn’t have a copy so I ordered one. It’s inspiring to know that his words will live on, at least for awhile. He had something to teach us, something that touched my heart as well as my mind.

I wish his family well.

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