We Have Only This Life to Live: Selected Essays, 1939–1975 (New York Review of Books, forthcoming 2013) Jean-Paul Sartre; edited by Ronald Aronson and Adrian van den Hoven; introduction by Ronald Aronson

Philosopher, novelist, playwright, biographer, journalist, and activist, Jean-Paul Sartre was also—and perhaps above all—a great essayist. The essay was uniquely suited to Sartre because of its intrinsically provisional and open-ended character. It is the perfect form in which to dramatize the existential character of our deepest intellectual, artistic, and political commitments. This new selection of Sartre’s essays, the first in English to draw on the entire ten volumes of his collected essays as well as previously unpublished work, includes extraordinarily searching appreciations of such writers and artists as Faulkner, Bataille, and Giacometti; Sartre’s great address to the French people at the end of the occupation, “The Republic of Silence”; sketches of the United States from his visit in the 1940s; reflections on politics that are both incisive and incendiary; portraits of Camus and Merleau-Ponty; and a candid reckoning with his own career from one of the interviews that ill-health made his prime mode of communication late in life. Together they add up to an unequaled portrait of a revolutionary and sometimes reckless thinker and writer and his contentious, difficult but never less than interesting times. The essays have been translated by several translators.

    Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided (Counterpoint Press, 2008)

Ronald Aronson has a mission: to demonstrate that a life without religion can be coherent, moral, and committed. He proposes contemporary answers to Immanuel Kant’s three great questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope?

Grounded in the sense that we are deeply dependent and interconnected beings who are rooted in the universe, nature, history, society, and the global economy, Living Without God explores the experience and issues of 21st-century secularists, especially in America.

Optimistic and stirring, Living Without God is less interested in attacking religion than in developing a positive philosophy for atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, skeptics, and freethinkers -- as well as all those who manage to live fundamentally separate lives and are searching for bearings today.

    Camus & Sartre: the story of a friendship and the quarrel that ended it (University of Chicago Press, 2005) [Also available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese, Turkish, and Korean editions through other publishers.]

Until now it has been impossible to read the full story of the relationship between Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Their dramatic rupture at the height of the Cold War, like that conflict itself, demanded those caught in its wake to take sides rather than to appreciate its tragic complexity. Now, using newly available sources, Ronald Aronson offers the first book-length account of the twentieth century's most famous friendship and its end.

Combining biography and intellectual history, philosophical and political passion, Camus and Sartre will fascinate anyone interested in these great writers or the world-historical issues that tore them apart.

After Marxism (The Guilford Press, 1994)

Marxism is over, writes Ronald Aronson in a profoundly moving work that describes, explains, and mourns the end of the modern world's great project of social transformation. The book combines autobiographical and historical narrative, history of ideas, as well as philosophical and historical argument to make sense of what it means to work for radical change in a post-Marxist era. Bidding farewell to the Marxian project without rejecting its insights and experience, this inspiring volume demonstrates new ways of conceiving radical thought and action.

Courageously candid yet deeply hopeful, After Marxism illustrates what can be learned not only from the "end of Marxism" but also from the victories Marxism achieved over past generations of struggle. The book offers inspiration for the long effort toward future social change.

Hope Now: The 1980 Interviews: Jean-Paul Sartre & Benny Lévy (University of Chicago Press, 1996/2007), Introduction by Ronald Aronson

In March of 1980,  Le Nouvel Observateur published a series of interviews, the last ever given, between the philosopher and his young assistant, Benny Lévy.  Shortly before his death, Sartre confirmed the authenticity of the interviews and their puzzling content. It has become the task of Sartre scholars to unravel and understand them. Presented in this fresh, meticulous translation, the interviews are framed by two provocative essays from Lévy himself, along with a comprehensive introduction from noted Sartre authority Ronald Aronson. Placing the interviews in proper biographical and philo-sophical perspective, Aronson demonstrates that the thought of both Sartre and Levy reveals multiple intentions that taken together nevertheless confirm and add to Sartre's overall philosophy. This absorbing volume contextualizes and elucidates the final thoughts of a brilliant and influential mind.

    Jean-Paul Sartre: Truth and Existence (University of Chicago Press, 1995), Edited by Ronald Aronson

Truth and Existence, written in response to Martin Heidegger's Essence of Truth, is a product of the years when Sartre was reaching full stature as a philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist. This concise and engaging text not only presents Sartre's ontology of truth but also addresses the key moral questions of freedom, action, and bad faith.

Truth and Existence is introduced by an extended biographical, historical, and analytical essay by Ronald Aronson.

    Sartre Alive (Wayne State University Press, 1991), Edited by Ronald Aronson and Adrian van den Hoven

This collection of essays on and by Jean-Paul Sartre reflects the conviction that his thought and career remain vitally important today, especially in the realms of politics, philosophy, literary studies, and psychology.  The book contains major pieces of Sartre's corpus unknown by the public at large. They show a sophisticated Sartre who is more sensitive to the close interaction of history and ethics than has usually been thought.   Additionally, an international assembly of scholars have contributed essays that demonstrate Sartre's contemporary political relevance. 

    "Stay Out of Politics": A Philosopher Views South Africa (University of Chicago Press, 1990)

While visiting, and lecturing in, South Africa during the height of the struggle against apartheid, Ronald Aronson witnessed the social reality of apartheid and heard the voices of its victims. His love for the South African people motivated him to write this powerful account. He presents a lecturer's tour of South Africa: the experiences that both confirmed his belief in the urgent need for majority rule but also revealed the complexities of the society that seeks to continue apartheid through all reforms; and his philosopher's reflections upon returning to the United States on the irrationality of apartheid and the ambiguities of the struggle to end it.

"Stay Out of Politics" is not only a powerful encounter with South Africa today, it is a provocative statement about philosophy—its nature, its tasks, its duty to understand and change the world in which we live.

    Sartre's Second Critique (University of Chicago Press, 1987)

Since 1960, when Sartre published the first volume of his monumental Critique de la raison dialectique, the unfinished second volume achieved the status of the century's most keenly awaited philosophical work - finally published in 1985.  In a book without parallel, Ronald Aronson provides a thorough explication of and commentary on this historic work of social philosophy. . . .[His] commentary can be used as a step-by-step guide through dense terrain.  It is also significant as a work of original philosophical and historical reflection on the momentous issues of our century.

    The Dialectics of Disaster: A Preface to Hope (Verso, 1982; online)

Is there a reason to hope today? With this question, Ronald Aronson confronts the mid-20th century sources of today's widely shared sense of cynicism and crisis. . . Achieving a unique moral, intellectual and political balance in areas where hysteria and cynicism are endemic, Dialectics is a major contribution to our understanding of the twentieth century.

    Jean-Paul Sartre - Philosophy in the World (NLB/Verso, 1980; online)

No post-war philosopher acquired such world-wide fame as Jean-Paul Sartre, or occupied such a commanding position within the difficult history of the European Left after the war.  Yet the very scale and variety of Sartre's writings has been rendered an informed and balanced judgment of his achievement difficult.  Ronald Aronson's book seeks to provide a set of keys to an overall understanding of it.