Peter Jukes (right) with Judt (middle), 2007
Tony Judt died, surrounded by his family, on the evening of August 6th, 2010. The New York Times obituary can be read here. This is the full transcript of Peter Jukes’s interview with Tony Judt—conducted earlier this year via email, due to the progress of Judt’s motor neurone disease. The full text of Jukes’s portrait of Tony Judt is featured in the August issue of Prospect, and can be read online here.
Peter Jukes: I’ll start with a confession. Before we first met 12 years ago at the Remarque Forum [a conference Judt sponsored as professor of history at New York University] a joint friend of ours sent me an example of your work—a chapter I think from your 1979 book Socialism in Provence 1871-1914. I must admit my heart sank. I’m sure it was compelling and well documented, but it gave no indication of the liveliness and relevance of the discussion at that Forum, nor of the range of your writing. I think you must have been half way through your compendious history of the whole of post-war Europe at the time.
So my question is: how did you move from the micro-analysis of the French left between two wars to the often global historical issues you address today?