THINKING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder. Penguin, 2013, 432 pp. $18 (paperback)

Fame came too late for Tony Judt. He was 57 in 2005 when he published his history of Europe after 1945, “Postwar,” the book that sealed his reputation worldwide. Three years later he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. Two years after that, he was gone. Which means that his last book, “Thinking the Twentieth Century,” was written — dictated, actually — in bed as he was dying. This critical survey of 20th-century thought is a towering achievement

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