chapter  12
12 Pages

The empiricist’s tale: academic wanderlust and the comparative imperative

ByBarry A. Kosmin

I grew up in a semi-detached house in the dreary suburban outskirts of London. Austerity-ridden, bomb-scarred, postwar Britain was a homogeneous, safe, but rather boring and deferential society. My family was British and Jewish, so I was raised with a strong antipathy towards fascism and Germans on both patriotic and ethnic grounds. My parents had both had their educations cut short by war service – my father’s in RAF Bomber Command and my mother as a nurse – and they were relieved when I passed the Eleven Plus examination to attend a selective, state secondary school which would ensure my social mobility.