Judt’s widow Jennifer Homans reflects on her husband’s life and the making of his last book:
I lived with him and our two children as he faced the terror of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It was a two-year ordeal, from his diagnosis in 2008 to his death in 2010, and during it Tony managed against all human odds to write three books. The last, following “Ill Fares the Land” and “The Memory Chalet,” was “Thinking the Twentieth Century,” based on conversations with Timothy Snyder. He started work on the book soon after he was diagnosed; within months he was quadriplegic and on a breathing machine, but he kept working nonetheless. He and Tim finished the book a month before he died. It accompanied his illness; it was part of his illness, and part of his dying.