The socialist thinker who imagined ‘transforming her body and soul into potatoes’ to feed the poor

May you live in interesting times. The jury is still out on whether that sentiment is a blessing or a curse. There can be no doubt, though, that the heroines of Wolfram Eilenberger’s new book lived in interesting times and then some. Ayn Rand fled the Russian Revolution; Hannah Arendt fled the Nazis; Simone Weil took part in the French general strike of 1933 and fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War; Simone de Beauvoir went to bed with Jean-Paul Sartre. Eilenberger calls his foursome The Visionaries. It’s an odd title, but then so was the one he gave his previous book, The Time of the Magicians. There