- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (29 Jan. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141009543
- ISBN-13: 978-0141009544
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
16,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Liberalism
- #17 in Books > History > Political History > Democracy
- #23 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Communication Studies > Media & Communication Industries > Press & Journalism
Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism Paperback – 29 Jan 2015
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Magisterial, timeless, beautifully written ... Siedentop has achieved something quite extraordinary. He has explained us to ourselves (Spectator)
One of the most stimulating books of political theory to have appeared in many years ... a refreshingly unorthodox account of the roots of modern liberalism in medieval Christian thinking (John Gray Literary Review)
A brave, brilliant and beautifully written defence of the western tradition (Paul Lay History Today)
Thoroughly interesting and fundamentally convincing ... admirably nuanced ... formidable ... Inventing the Individual is written with effortless lucidity (Jeffrey Collins TLS)
An engrossing book of ideas ... illuminating, beautifully written and rigorously argued (Kenan Malik Independent)
A most impressive work of philosophical history (Robert Skidelsky)
About the Author
Larry Siedentop was appointed to the first post in intellectual history ever established in Britain, at Sussex University in the 1970's. From there he moved to Oxford, becoming Faculty Lecturer in Political Thought and a Fellow of Keble College. His writings include a study of Tocqueville, an edition of Guizot's History of Civilization in Europe and Democracy in Europe, which has been translated into a dozen languages. Siedentop was made CBE in 2004. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Many people will want to challenge, if not ridicule, this thesis because it runs counter to the standard prevailing view our modern society - characterised by individualism, with its emphasis on human rights and equality - is the product of the Enlightenment, which in turn was a reaction to and rejection of everything Christian. Siedentop marshals his evidence with impressive scholarship and flawless acumen from over two millennia to show this view is a myth which grossly misrepresents history.
It is this misrepresentation which leads to the polarisation of religion and secularism which has become an increasingly worrying feature of contemporary society with fundamentalists at both ends of the spectrum taking up increasingly entrenched positions of intolerance. Siedentop likens this to a 'new civil war' which has the potential to destroy an inclusive, tolerant liberal society. It is this concern which provides the motivation for his book and what makes it so timely.
The current debate over whether we are a Christian country often overlooks the fact that one does not need to be a Christian to see that its influence is embedded in the sort of society we have and the values that make it possible, values that Siedentop shows with eloquent persuasiveness - for this is a beautifully written book - to have sprung from the moral revolution caused by the eruption of this faith into the classical world of antiquity, radically challenging it.
I bought this book partly because of the cover: I became haunted by the face looking out at me as if to seek a conversation: who was this man?Read more ›
The book begins with a look at the political culture of classical antiquity. It started with the family, a peculiarly hierarchical and exclusionary system and mindset. In the household, the patriarch was treated, even worshiped, like a god, with absolute authority over everyone: the maker of law, the final authority to whom everyone surrenders their individuality as the price of membership and anyone who elected to leave was regarded as insane; those outside were scarcely regarded as human, certainly not worthy of consideration as an equal. As the organization of societies grew more complex during the iron age, this allegiance moved to clan, tribe, and finally the city state, or polis. The political behavior of members remained similar to that of family-based patriarchies, but the wider allegiances manifested themselves in polytheism - each new involvement found a new patron god, cult, or ritual around which citizens on the inside could rally.
Even Athenian democracy was subject to this political logic, carrying obligations of service and sacrifice that are completely foreign to modern conceptions of democracy. This may all sound bizarre, but as a classics major, it clarified my understanding of the classical mind in a new way that immediately resonated with me: they regarded themselves as members in a hierarchical collective before they saw themselves as individuals, accepting their places and roles in the city state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read Democracy in Europe and I enjoyed it. This was a longer and harder read. It's an engaging thesis, but a bit unusual. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Cohen
In the prologue the case is made for a persuasive narrative to counter the origin of beliefs emanating from the East which have gained such an extreme hold in recent times, and to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joseph Augustine
I am delighted to state that this book arrived today in very good condition......thank you, one and all.Published 2 months ago by biddybuzz
This book is not "beautifully written", as some of its reviewers have asserted. The author writes clearly but it is not a masterpiece of eloquence. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephen
but i had already read the book, i just wanted to give copies to friends
There is not much to add that hasn't been said already. This a highly-readable, compelling and intensely-humane account of the impact of Christian thinking on the rise of Western... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Would particularly recommend to atheists.
An important subject matter, on an often neglected area of discussion. Read more
Look for similar items by category
- Books > History > Europe > Vikings, Dark Ages, Medieval Europe 501-1500
- Books > History > Political History > Democracy
- Books > History > Religious History > Christianity
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Liberalism
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Political Science
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Philosophy > History
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Communication Studies > Media & Communication Industries > Press & Journalism