Hannah Arendt: Radical Conservative paints a broad picture of the personal traits and professional achievements in the work of an extremely complex iconographic figure in twentieth-century intellectual life. Writing about Hannah Arendt is an exercise in the biographic intersecting with the academic. It is an effort to bring together contexts of work with contents of thought. This volume was written in response to continuing interest in her work and also to the bitter and sometimes emotional attacks of her toughest critics. Horowitz emphasizes her unique contributions to political philosophy.
Hannah Arendt has been described in many ways. She has been called a feminist, a dedicated worker for and writer about Jewish causes, a German advocate of its highest aspirations and assumed superiority to just about any other linguistic and national tradition, and a person whose very name is identified with anti-Nazism. Irving Louis Horowitz conveys the passion Hannah Arendt's scholarship has elicited as well as the diversity of her writings.
Hannah Arendt's career is a lesson in the life of the human mind. Her reflections on our political universe are both interesting and compelling. Those who identify themselves firmly within a single tradition or culture may escape the problem of relativism, but they also suffer the problem of absolutism. This long-standing tension between traditions, cultures, and systems is what Horowitz has taken from Arendt's writings. Her sense of nuance has made her a compelling figure in twentieth-century ideas and a controversial voice well into the twenty-first century.