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eBook formatHardcover, (torrent)En
PublisherBasic Books
File size3.4 Mb
Pages count216
Book rating4.2 (12 votes)
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Once a whimsical, sunny-day purchase off a Strand dollar cart, this ur-Brit book of essays had become by mid-2010 just another dreary obligation. Inspiring violent oaths like, "I'll get to you when I do. Ya lucky you've not been pulped!" or "Sure I'll read you, ye remainder bin bastard ye!" I had to kill it off and offer up its remains to my grimy, Salvation Army confreres.

So, an essay collection concerning "significant" European political thinkers and theories, it's very mid-60s and super basic; one gets more than a whiff of an open university cash-in enterprise. Things go best when a philosopher is handed over to an openly disdainful critic rather than an apologist or, worse yet, slobbering fanboy.

For instance, the guy who got Hegel spits venom throughout his 15 pages:
Whitehead once said that the world never quite recovers from the shock of a great philosopher. I do not think that Hegel was a great philosopher; but the sheer range and grandiose garrulity of his works acted like a hydrogen bomb on the history of thought—a vast gaseous mushroom cloud settling on the thought of Europe and seeping insidiously into studies and salons.

Rant Bit: As could be expected, the guy assigned Burke sucked, even by the book's lax standards. The writer manages to praise the Right Honorable Eddie B by obscuring the inevitable implications of his positions and glossing over the actual content of his ideas. It reads like a more academic precursor to the drivelings of David Brooks. Burke, regrettably the most famous holder of my surname, was not some harmless hearth-n-home traditionalist, rational democrat, or incrementalist reformer. He was a toady for establishment power, eloquently defending the continuity of oppression yea unto the ages of ages.

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