By David Caute
Rancorous and hugely public disagreements among Isaiah Berlin and Isaac Deutscher escalated to the purpose of merciless betrayal within the mid-1960s, but unusually the main points of the episode have escaped historians’ scrutiny. during this gripping account of the ideological conflict among of the main influential students of chilly conflict politics, David Caute uncovers a hidden tale of passionate ideals, unresolved antagonism, and the excessive rate of reprisal to either sufferer and perpetrator.
Though Deutscher (1907–1967) and Berlin (1909–1997) had a lot in common—each arrived in England in flight from totalitarian violence, fast mastered English, and located access into the Anglo-American highbrow global of the 1950s—Berlin turned one of many presiding voices of Anglo-American liberalism, whereas Deutscher remained devoted to his Leninist history, resolutely protecting Soviet behavior regardless of his rejection of Stalin’s tyranny. Caute combines shiny biographical aspect with an acute research of the problems that divided those icons of chilly conflict politics, and brings to mild for the 1st time the total severity of Berlin’s motion opposed to Deutscher.
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Extra info for Isaac and Isaiah: The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic
33 She wrote to friends and to the British Museum and BBC Radio Archives in search of part-time work, stressing her linguistic qualifications and her experience as her husband’s researcher and editor, and she enquired at the Overseas Students Department of the British Council about taking in a student lodger. Friends like Donald Tyerman were responsive and helpful, yet nothing seemed to turn up. Hugh Seton-Watson (the target of at least one review by Deutscher) wrote sympathetically from the School of Slavonic Studies, recalling his disagreements with Deutscher but fondly remembering earlier days when they saw quite a lot of each other – but he could not suggest a vacancy.
Now in his early forties, newspaper photographs or sketches show Deutscher with spectacles, receding hair cut short and clean- shaven. The aforementioned cover of the Saturday Evening Post (1 October 1949) depicted a gentle, smiling Deutscher in the foreground and a looming portrait of Stalin behind him. 24 In July 1950, the New York Times Magazine carried a huge piece by Deutscher on ‘Soviet Strengths and Soviet Weaknesses’. ’ That Deutscher resented this editorial précis is indicated on his cutting of the printed article, where he has crossed it out and substituted another.
Applying for a visa, Deutscher explained at the embassy that he had been a member of the Polish Communist Party from 1926 to 1932. Tamara Deutscher later recalled the ensuing period of six months during which letters, cables and fat drafts of affidavits running into thousands of words were written and exchanged, on the basis of which the elusive ‘9th Proviso Waiver’ was (or wasn’t) to be granted. While OUP’s attorneys in New York negotiated with the Department of Justice, Deutscher refused to express regret at having joined the Communist Party and refused to attest that he had thereafter returned from communism to ‘the rabbinical tradition’.
Isaac and Isaiah: The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic by David Caute