Europe in Search of Europeans   /   Spring 2014   /    Book Reviews

Exit and Voice

Amitai Etzioni

Albert O. Hirschman; IAS/Princeton.

Exploring one of the most creative renegade thinkers in economics.

Jeremy Adelman’s thorough and reliable biography of Albert O. Hirschman takes us step by step through the life of a remarkable modern thinker whose work had repercussions, and possibly greater impact, outside the economics discipline in which he was formally trained.

A Jew born in Germany, Hirschman escaped the Nazis in 1933, shortly after he turned 17. After going to France to study business, he made his way to London to take up economics. However, unable to sit by and watch the rise of fascism in Spain, he volunteered to fight alongside the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War—a harrowing experience that left him with scars on his neck and one of his legs. Ever resilient, Hirschman set off to Italy to get a doctorate in economics before returning to France to fight against fascism once again. As French resistance to the Nazi invasion quickly collapsed, he took up the challenge of helping refugees escape the country, including such well known figures as Hannah Arendt and Marcel Duchamp.

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