Isaiah Berlin was one of the great public intellectuals of the 20th century, but he did his best to sabotage his legacy.
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The relationships forged in the war years ensured Berlin remained close to American power even after returning to academia.
He was close to the courtiers in John F Kennedy’s Camelot and dined with the president on the first day of the Cuban missile crisis. And because his procrastinating took the form of letter writing, many of them have survived.
The family lived for two years in Lenin’s Russia but fear of the secret police prompted them to flee to London.
Berlin adapted quickly and his intellectual precocity took him from St Paul’s to Oxford, where he became the first Jew to win an All Souls fellowship.
Hardy estimated there were a million words of unpublished lectures and millions more in letters.