Veteran political scientist Michael Curtis will speak about his latest in a long line of books at the Princeton Public Library next Wednesday, September 11 at 6:30 p.m.
In Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East, fresh from Transaction Press, Mr. Curtis, who turns 90 on the day of his Library presentation, brings decades of deep thinking to bear on the issue of animosity toward Jews and Israel.
The book examines the censorious attitude toward Israel common in the international community and the general acceptance of the narrative of Palestinian victimhood by the international media. Changes in the Arab world, Iranian ambitions, the new alliance of Sunni Islamist states, and the growing strength and danger of extreme Islamic fundamentalism come under Mr. Curtis’ scrutiny.
Described as a “must read” for historians, political scientists, Jewish studies scholars, and anyone interested in the volatile Midde East today, the book includes essays on the increase of contemporary antisemitism in Arab and Muslim countries and follows the author’s earlier work, Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community, published by Balfour Press in 2011.
Mr. Curtis “notes the ironies, absurdities, and malign implications of the world’s oldest bias. Readers will come away mobilized to fight this malignancy.” said historian and political commentator Daniel Pipes, president, Middle East Forum.
In frequent columns for the online journal, The American Thinker, Mr. Curtis has written on the fate of Christians in the Middle East following recent revolutions as well as on the role of the tribes that hold enormous power and transcend borders and official governments in the region. In recent months, he has been invited to appear on National Public Radio several times. His scholarship ranges over the fields of political theory, comparative government, Western European politics, the European Union, and the United Nations.
Born in London and educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Mr. Curtis earned his doctorate at Cornell University before settling in Princeton in 1963 when he was appointed to a teaching position at Rutgers University, where he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus in political science.
As well as writing on the Middle East, he is renowned for work that looks at the origins of the political Right in modern France, and France’s complicated role in the Holocaust during the Vichy regime and the Nazi occupation in World War II.
His contributions to the study of the history of French political thought and 20th century French politics began with the first book he wrote after coming to the United States. Three Against the Third Republic is considered the definitive study of early 20th century French politics and the rise of the Right after the Dreyfus affair. Published by Princeton University Press in 1959, it was recently re-issued by Transaction Press with a new introduction by the author.
Mr. Curtis’s Verdict on Vichy (2002) was named one of the best books of the year by England’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Known in Princeton for his love and knowledge of jazz, Mr. Curtis is recognized internationally as an activist as well as a scholar. For many years, he was the president of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East and editor of the Middle East Review.
Although the subject of Mr. Curtis’s library talk is a serious one, that it takes place on his 90th birthday is surely a cause for celebration. After his presentation, Mr. Curtis will be feted with a toast and birthday cake for all. “Michael is amazing,” said his wife Judith K. Brodsky, Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Visual Arts at Rutgers University. “He has written so many books that we’ve lost count. His passion for his subjects keeps him intellectually vital. Everyone thinks he’s about 65.”
A recent count of the long-time Princeton resident’s books, shows him to be the author of more than 35 titles, including textbooks that have influenced and informed thousands of college students here and abroad. His textbook on the great political philosophers published in the 1960s is still in print and used throughout the United States.
In addition to his Princeton Public Library presentation, Mr. Curtis will speak at The Center of Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, on Tuesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m., with a public reception. Mr. Curtis will sign copies of his books at both events.
“The library is delighted to welcome Michael Curtis and invites the community to come to this event to learn more about his latest book,” said Leslie Burger, director of the Princeton Public Library. “We are even more delighted to help him celebrate his 90th birthday. His long and impressive career of teaching, lecturing and writing is an inspiration to all of us.”