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Download Intellectuals Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Intellectuals (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Paul Johnson
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (667 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Johnson Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN:
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Since the time of Voltaire and Rousseau, the secular intellectual has increasingly filled the vacuum left by the decline of the cleric and assumed the functions of moral mentor and critic of mankind. This fascinating portrait of the minds that have shaped the modern world examines the moral credentials of those whose thoughts have influenced humanity.

How do intellectuals set about reaching their conclusions? How carefully do they examine the evidence? How great is their respect for truth? And how do they apply their public principles to their private lives? In an intriguing series of case studies and incisive portraits, Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sartre, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Noam Chomsky, and others are revealed as intellectuals both brilliant and contradictory, magnetic and dangerous. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abigail | 2/20/2014

    " Very informative, written in a manner to hold one's interest (it held mine, anyway). I learned a lot from it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mr | 2/16/2014

    " the intellectuals are more screwed up than the rest of us "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Drewkosztyo | 2/11/2014

    " Reading this book made me feel kinda... I dunno... intellectual? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 1/27/2014

    " Demonstrates what dirt bags these guys were. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Goldstein | 1/22/2014

    " Magnificent, all the emeperors without clothes, about time these rascals were exposed for the frauds they were! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 1/22/2014

    " I finally finished this--it took me quite a while. I found it necessary to do a few chapters at a time, broken up by something else. This book is an amazing, weighty but readable look at the "intellectuals" we've crowned as "experts" in the last few hundred years. Johnson notes the trend of intellectuals seeking to lead humanity to a better place than the priests and religious leaders of an earlier day, and asks the oddly-rarely-mentioned question "How is this working out?" Are we better off for following these intellectuals? Is the world a better place? Umm, well, not really. Why might that be? Johnson takes a magnifying glass to the lives and the writings of a number of Western "intellectuals" to answer these questions, and lays out the remarkable story of just how awful these men (and an occasional woman) have really been. No wonder the world's not a better place--the men Johnson chronicles for us are greedy, venal, vain, cruel, untruthful and untrustworthy. One thing I especially can't get over is how awfully these men treated women and their families. I've always been ambivalent about insisting that leaders be perfect in order to lead--no one is perfect--but the horrible stories laid out for us by Johnson show men who almost universally treat women with breathtaking cruelty and condescension. I'm not sure that the trend written about here is still in force. It seems to me we've decided to dump true "intellectuals" like playwrights, professors and artists, and decided to all follow "celebrities" like Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, Michael Moore--perhaps Johnson could take a look at this and give us "Celebrities" :-) This book is a fantastic volume of intellectual history. I originally considered giving it to my sons to read for modern history. However, I will not be doing that. Johnson is a little too frank in covering the sexual lives of his subjects--the result is a little hair-curling. My teens won't be reading it for school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bigmg | 1/20/2014

    " Almost done. Will let loose then. This is a fantastic book, however. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 1/20/2014

    " A devasting critique of the intellectuals who have "shaped the modern world". One after another, Johnson examines the disconnection between the great works and ideals of these world shapers on one hand, and their personal lives on the other. It's a gruelling catalogue of hypocrisy, ego, broken relationships, dishonesty and spectacular moral failure. A difficult but engrossing read. Written before the fall of the Soviet Union, communism seems to be Johnson's ultimate opponent, and he makes a convincing case for the near total failure of the socialist philosophies of almost every intellectual he describes. The portraits of Rousseau, Shelly, Marx, Ibsen, Brecht, Russell and Sartre left me with reduced interest in their work, but I did gain a heightened interest in reading Tolstoy and Hemingway. The final chapters on more recent figures were disappointing -- a similar pattern, but figures of less interest and influence. In the final chapter, "The Flight of Reason", Johnson seems to present portraits of George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh to highlight failings in his other subjects. The final page of the book is a bleak rejection of the ability of intellectuals to provide any helpful guidance for society. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Johnston | 1/6/2014

    " Is there no subject on which Paul Johnson has not written? This is a volume I will return to many times I think. I read the Kindle version and could not find when it was written. Probably sometime after 1987 and maybe in the mid 1990's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Jones | 12/21/2013

    " Wonderful book. Makes one realize the core of the Utopian ideal is rotten. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 A.K. | 12/12/2013

    " The dark side of those that would teach us how to live. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Reeser | 12/4/2013

    " This is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the people who have shaped thought and culture in the last century. A troubling work that will force you to reevaluate much of what you know about these individuals. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick | 12/1/2013

    " Fascinating biographies on the leading Intelectuals from Rousseau to Chomsky and many in-between (Shelly, Brecht, Edmund, Baldwin, Russell etc)and their penchant for self aggrandizement and hypocricy. As always with Paul Johnson's books wonderful, insightful and amusing read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wm | 11/14/2013

    " Interesting view on personalities behind post-modern culture "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Desiree | 9/15/2013

    " Very interesting read on some of the intellectuals that our society has followed the last 100 years. After looking at what these intellectuals stood for, how they handled their private lives and their morals, why was the world so eager to follow them? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William | 7/11/2013

    " A very strange book. It began well and declined from there, almost page by page. That said, there is too much love of intellectuals in our age and any book that deflates intellectuals is worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 D. | 12/6/2012

    " This book helped me pinpoint what it is I don't like about self-proclaimed "intellectuals." I don't mean all intellectuals, of course, but a certain species of them that look down on those they consider lesser beings and who mistreat and neglect their own families or loved ones. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taylor | 10/4/2012

    " Illuminating, with fun prodding against these intellectuals when necessary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seema | 3/9/2012

    " Amazing read. Get this one only when you have extended periods of time to read, absorb and reflect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 1/3/2012

    " A very fun book to read, as Johnson gives us the personal background of so many memorable characters who dominate what has come to be considered modern thought. One of the few books I regret having given away....would be worth re-reading to see how detailed his research was... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dean Anderson | 10/29/2011

    " Amazing how many of these people had poor hygiene. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zeno | 7/5/2011

    " I am so affected. I thought I was reading my personality on bits and pieces on the lives of these intellectuals. Very neurotic indeed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel | 5/13/2011

    " An absolutely fascinating study of some the most influential intellectuals of Western Civilizations history, and their failure to live up to standards they themselves prescribe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jstrick | 1/26/2011

    " Not sure I would have read this book without it being required...let's just say I'm glad that happened. Extremely interesting work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 11/9/2010

    " This is an excellent look into the minds of the intellectuals herein. Johnson is a very capable scholar and an excellent writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 6/14/2010

    " Interesting philosophical biography of some leading intellectuals. But I've never been a fan of biography and found myself bored with it around half-way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bigmg | 3/27/2010

    " Almost done. Will let loose then. This is a fantastic book, however. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LJh* | 1/24/2010

    " Illuminating, with fun prodding against these intellectuals when necessary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keith | 12/12/2009

    " Interesting book about great philosophers and how they influenced our thinking today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Drewkosztyo | 9/11/2009

    " Reading this book made me feel kinda... I dunno... intellectual? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 7/28/2009

    " This is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the people who have shaped thought and culture in the last century. A troubling work that will force you to reevaluate much of what you know about these individuals. "

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About the Author
Author Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson, British author and historian, is the author of many books, including Modern Times, A History of the Jews, Intellectuals, The Birth of the Modern, and The Quest for God, which have been translated into many languages. He has been a frequent contributor to the Daily Telegraph, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spectator, and other newspapers and magazines. He has lectured to academic, business, and political audiences all over the world.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.