Staff Pick

When he was nineteen, John Kaag was so devoted to Nietzsche that he nearly killed himself following in his footsteps on an Alpine trek. Nearly twenty years later, Kaag is still drawn to that ascetic ideal. Though he understands things in Nietzsche that he didn’t before, he makes a second pilgrimage to Sils Maria, the village where Nietzsche lived from 1883 to 1888. In Hiking With Nietzsche (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $26) he's still hoping to reach the heights, but this time, he brings a wife and four-year-old daughter, as well as a more mature perspective that finds Zarathustra not a guide to the unalloyed truth, but a work by a dissatisfied, imperfect individual. Kaag largely maintains this clear-eyed, unromantic view throughout this refreshing and insightful book that, like the wonderful American Philosophy, is as much memoir as it is biography and history of ideas.

Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374170011
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 25th, 2018

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Staff Pick

If Friedrich Nietzsche kept his “gaze … fixed beyond all that is ephemeral,” seeing himself as “untimely,” Sue Prideaux’s I Am Dynamite! (Tim Duggan, $30) shows how very timely the “philosopher of perhaps” remains. Prideaux looks closely at the thinker’s family, friendships, health, and travels, tracing the development of his ideas within larger personal and cultural contexts. So rich are these contexts that at times they threaten to overwhelm the ideas. Prideaux gives generous selections from Nietzsche’s letters as well as the letters and journals of his sister Elisabeth, Cosima Wagner, Paul Rée, Jacob Burckhardt, and others; combined with her often witty and always sharp comments, these actual voices bring even the secondary characters to life. The narrative is also full of telling and indelible details, like the “Renaissance painter outfit” Richard Wagner wore for his first meeting with Nietzsche. Prideaux’s accounts of Nietzsche’s life-long ill health, when he was incapacitated for weeks with headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light, reveal him as a courageous and vulnerable man as well as a formidable thinker. But when he was incapacitated mentally and physically for the last years of his life, he was at the mercy of his sister Elisabeth, who recreated her brother in the image of proto-Nazi. Prideaux untangles her distortions from Nietzsche’s rejection of systems, restoring his “blazing if baffling vision that challenges us to think for ourselves.”

I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781524760823
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Tim Duggan Books - October 30th, 2018

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Staff Pick

Amid all the ranting, Michiko Kakutani’s articulate and rational voice is a great relief. The Death of Truth (Tim Duggan, $22) doesn’t just argue that facts are different from opinions, that words have meanings, that reality and truth exist—it proves it by drawing on a wide range of historic and cultural touchstones. From the Founders and Lincoln to writers including Arendt, Orwell, Huxley, David Foster Wallace, and others, Kakutani taps expertise to trace the cultural and political roots of today’s resurgence of populism and demagoguery. “Trump is as much a symptom of the times as he is a dangerous catalyst,” she reminds us, and demonstrates how his disdain for facts, civility, and any perspective other than his own grew from both fascism and postmodernism. She cites chilling parallels between his use of language and Hitler’s, and shows how ideas such as cultural relativity and deconstruction—originally propounded by left-wing academics to subvert master narratives—softened the lines between objective and subjective. Where the founders emphasized “the common good,” the very idea of consensus is now in tatters. What can save us? Institutions such as the three branches of government, the press, and education; the courage to insist on the truth, as the Parkland students have; and books like this one.

The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780525574828
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Tim Duggan Books - July 17th, 2018

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