THREE INTELLECTUALS IN POLITICS by James Joll

THREE INTELLECTUALS IN POLITICS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lcon Blum, Walther Rathenau, and F. T. Marinetti are the subjects of separate biographic essays here. No matter what heights they reached in elective or appointive office, it is peculiar that none of these men was able to fulfill his socio-economic aspirations or influence his countrymen to do so during his lifetime. It may be that they were hampered because their ""philosophical views reflected (their) own psychological conflicts (and their) economic ideas also expressed (their) own temperaments."" It may be, as in Blum's case, that his country was not ready for the kind of Socialism he tried to give it. In Rathenau's case, perhaps his personal austerity and his relationship as a Jewish businessman to the German Gentile community played a great part in his ineffectiveness. Whatever the reasons, it is that their lives are filled with a pervasive sense of their own mortality. None of the three is remembered for what he considered his best achievements, and each suffered the humility of recognizing his own failure and impotence. This is not a book of hero stories. It is noteworthy that the English title of the anthology is simply Intellectuals in Politics. It is as if the tales of these individuals are regarded, in England, as typical of any intellectual man who enters politics, whereas the American publishers, by their use of the limiting adjectives, make clear their feeling that not all persons characterized by this nomenclature will lead dismal political lives. These essays are valuable principally for their historical perspective on the era between the wars. An appendix contains Marinetti's Futuristic Manifesto.

Publisher: Pantheon