Not very many intellectuals really change their minds about anything. They have a big idea, often become well known because of it. Then their...

Not very many intellectuals really change their minds about anything. They have a big idea, often become well known because of it. Then their big idea becomes an integral part of their identity and they just never let it go. Evidence that doesn’t “fit” is either ignored or contorted in such a way as to make it “fit.” Too bad, that. But, as you’ll read in Adi Gordon‘s terrific book Toward Nationalism’s End: An Intellectual Biography of Hans Kohn (Brandeis University Press, 2017), not Hans Kohn. He had a several big ideas, most notably one about nationalism. But he never stopped evolving it to, well, reality. Kohn lived in several different worlds—a Habsburg one, a Zionist one, an American one—and in each of them he witnessed how nationalism played out in different ways. Kohn adapted as he moved from one world to another, and so did his thought. Very good, that. Listen in to our fascinating conversation.

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