PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim

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This political memoir reveals how Richard Falk became prominent in America and internationally as both a public intellectual and citizen pilgrim. Falk built a life of progressive commitment, highlighted by visits to North Vietnam where he met PM Pham Von Dong, to Iran during the Islamic Revolution after meeting Khomeini in Paris, to South Africa where he met with Nelson Mandela at the height of the struggle against apartheid, and frequently to Palestine and Israel. His memoir is studded with encounters with well-known public figures in law, academia, political activism and even Hollywood. Falk mentored the thesis of Robert Mueller, taught David Petraeus.

His publications and activism describe various encounters with embedded American militarism, especially as expressed by governmental resistance to responsible efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and his United Nations efforts on behalf of the rights of the Palestinian people. In 2010 he was named Outstanding Public Scholar in Political Economy by the International Studies Association. He has been nominated annually for the Nobel Peace Prize since 2009.

“This intimate and penetrating account of a remarkable life is rich in insights about topics ranging from the academic world to global affairs to prospects for a livable society.  A gripping story, with many lessons for a troubled world.” NOAM CHOMSKY

“Richard Falk is one of the few great public intellectuals and citizen pilgrims who has preserved his integrity and consistency in our dark and decadent times. This wise and powerful memoir is a gift that bestows us with a tear-soaked truth and blood-stained hope”.  CORNEL WEST

“Richard Falk’s Public Intellectual is a citizen pilgrims journey across the world , over  nearly a century, contributing to peace in Vietnam, Iran, Palestine …Through his life and ideas he invites us to imagine and shape the ‘politics of impossibility ‘  to heal our ‘endangered planet’  and our fractured societies.  Whether you are a peace activist or researcher, or you care about the earth and fellow human beings , Public Intellectual will enrich you intellectually and  politically.” VANDANA SHIVA

“Richard Falk recounts a life well spent trying to bend the arc of international law toward global justice. A Don Quixote tilting nobly at real dragons. His culminating vision of a better or even livable future—a ‘necessary utopia’—evokes with current urgency the slogan of Paris, May 1968: ‘Be realistic: demand the impossible.’” DANIEL ELLSBERG

“Richard Falk is universally regarded as one of the top minds when it comes to international law.” WALDEN BELLOEconomy and Politics

“This book should be an inspiration to many young lawyers and academics who want to serve justice and not just join the Wall Street rat race, become Washington consultants or work for dubious think tanks.” ALFRED DE ZAYAS, Netherlands International Law Review

“The 2008 global meltdown spotlighted America’s own legions of greedy wolf warriors, feeding at the trough. Neither America’s nor China’s wolf warriors offer happy returns, but only our best deep thinkers, it seems, know this. One is Richard Falk who, in his just-published political memoir Public Intellectual, is as successful as anyone in making the point that what’s needed is not simply a course correction but a new course.” TOM PLATE, South China Morning Post

“Falk’s unique intellectual and political career poses a profound challenge to anybody working in International Relations: is it possible really to understand the dynamics of world politics without also participating passionately in its events? Many scholars argue that there should be a responsibility of objectivity in the social sciences; but Falk has never tried to be ‘neutral’. All his works were consciously born from a partisan attempt to change reality and to take a side. Nobody else is likely to be a witness to so many world events as Richard Falk; but he is teaching us that, to understand International Relations, and indeed the social sciences more broadly, scholars should be brave enough to enter the political arena..” DANIELE ARCHIBUGI, International Affairs

 

 

 

 

Description

This political memoir reveals how Richard Falk became prominent in America and internationally as both a public intellectual and citizen pilgrim. Interwoven and enriched with personal accounts of his living, learning and loving in many parts of the world. Falk’s journey began with a comfortable, yet troubled, childhood in New York City that included a conservative political and secular background, leading on to an Ivy League education. From there, Falk built a life of progressive commitment, highlighted by visits to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, to Iran during the Islamic Revolution, to South Africa at the height of the struggle against apartheid, and frequently to Palestine and Israel. This led to his enduring many defamatory attacks launched by militants defending U.S. foreign policy, and especially in reaction to his expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle to achieve basic rights and a just peace. The assault reached its height during the six-year period when Falk served as UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Occupied Palestine.

Along the way, while a professor of international law at Princeton University, he has published more than 50 books on many scholarly topics, including studies of the profound dangers now facing humanity, the relevance of international law and the UN, and prospects for transforming world order in the direction of peace, justice, and ecological viability. His publications and activism describe various encounters with embedded American militarism, especially as expressed by governmental resistance to responsible efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In the course of his travels, teaching, and writing, Falk has dealt with many leading personalities around the world. Aside from a life of travel, commitment, and personal intimacy two themes have dominated his public roles—engaging with the controversies of the present and envisioning a future of world order that is humane and sensitive to ecological limits. To find coherence, he has published a book of poems, Waiting for Rainbows.

Book Details

ISBN

978-1-949762-32-7

Ebook ISBN

978-1-949762-33-4

Pages

474

Year of Publication

2021

Options

EBOOK – Epub and Kindle, paper

Author

Richard Falk

Reviews

7 reviews for PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim

  1. TRT Magazine

    “In his memoir, Richard Falk, one of the most prominent yet controversial experts on international law and relations, unravels many secrets of both the academic world and global affairs. It’s a rare privilege to publish a memoir at the age of 90. Richard Falk, an American-Jewish scholar and one of the top experts on international law, is among the blessed ones. A fierce member of academic discipline, Falk has earned a reputation for speaking on behalf of victims and the weak. He believes in the idea of being a ‘citizen pilgrim’, which means taking up a “life journey to build a better future by addressing the injustices of the present wherever encountered.” TRT Magazine, Turkey

  2. ERIC WALBERG

    “The real takeaway from Falk’s memoirs is what the life of an honourable man looks like as the world around him crumbles, who at 90 believes we can still take joy from our life long beliefs, which must be burnished constantly, wiping away dirt and the deeper rust. Israel represents the great, final betrayal of western civilization, our Titanic. Falk is one of the crew, and prefers to go down listening to Mozart, rather than compromise to stay afloat for a few more ‘happy hours’.” ERIC WALBERG

  3. DAVID RAY GRIFFIN

    “The most interesting memoir I have ever read.” DAVID RAY GRIFFIN

  4. FREDRICK S. HEFFERMEHL

    “The account of Richard Falk and his life is a gift to the world! The 90 years of pilgrimage from New York to Turkey
    is full of riveting experiences, reflection and choices, a truth-seeking love story with life and the world. It should inspire
    us all to see that law, used in honest service to fairness and justice, is a tool for peace both at the national level
    and among nations. No wonder Prof. Falk has received multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.” FREDRICK S. HEFFERMEHL, Lawyer

  5. WALDEN BELLO

    “Richard Falk is universally regarded as one of the top minds when it comes to international law. Yet his views are not only not welcome in establishment circles, but even among most left-leaning liberals. He was once the darling of liberals, someone whose left-of-center views were seen as important in “balancing” conservative and centrist views in debates, seminars, and TV programs. He was, in short, one of the establishment’s favorite critics of American foreign policy. That is until he crossed several red lines. The most consequential of these red lines was moving from abstract legal critiques of Israel’s policies in the Middle East to one of active sympathy with the Palestinian people’s struggle, and especially when he had the temerity to call Israel’s fundamental strategy of governance by its name: “#apartheid.” WALDEN BELLO, Economics and Politics

  6. ALFRED DE ZAYAS

    “Much more than just the ‘memoirs’ of a leading international law professor, this book tells a story of law in practice, addressing many issues of international relations, including UN standard-setting and monitoring, which Falk explores, cogently discussing the interactions between politics and law, expressing his understanding that politics must be subordinated to law and not vice versa. He proposes a ‘progressive’ agenda, which has been difficult to achieve in the socio-political context of the past 60 years. Indeed, as distinguished Professor in Princeton and Santa Barbara, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, and in other capacities, Falk has argued convincingly against the corruption of international law by geopolitics. In so doing Falk has left his imprint on international law. The book adds an important dimension to the understanding of international law and those who shape it..” ALFRED DE ZAYAS, Netherlands International Law Review

  7. DANIELE ARCHIBUGI

    “Falk’s unique intellectual and political career poses a profound challenge to anybody working in International Relations: is it possible really to understand the dynamics of world politics without also participating passionately in its events? Many scholars argue that there should be a responsibility of objectivity in the social sciences; but Falk has never tried to be ‘neutral’. All his works were consciously born from a partisan attempt to change reality and to take a side. Nobody else is likely to be a witness to so many world events as Richard Falk; but he is teaching us that, to understand International Relations, and indeed the social sciences more broadly, scholars should be brave enough to enter the political arena..” DANIELE ARCHIBUGI, International Affairs

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