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The Enlightenment Vol 2: Science of Freedom Paperback – 28 Feb 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 744 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New Ed edition (28 Feb. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393313662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393313666
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.4 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City.

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IN THE CENTURY OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT, educated Europeans awoke to a new sense of life. Read the first page
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
The Enlightenment by Peter Gay (2 volumes: The Rise of Modern Paganism and The Science of Freedom) surely ranks among the most brilliant accounts of eighteenth-century philosophy ever written. It is a sweeping account of the intellectual history of the 18th century, form its origins right into the French and American Revolutions. It traces the struggle of the small clique of 'philosophes' -a dispersed group of intellectual giants such as Voltaire, Hume, Lessing and Beccaria- as they fight against corruption, superstition and ignorance, which has kept Europe slumbering since the demise of the Roman Empire. The book vividly illustrates the ideas of the 'philosophes' and how they wanted to bring their reform programs into practice, and thereby spread the ideals of liberty and the pursuit of knowledge. Peter Gay deftly describes the cultural background of the 'philosophes' and explains how they came to challenge the establishment in order to bringing about these much needed changes so as to give their ideals a chance to prevail. The book has an extensive and well-readable bibliography with many good suggestions. This account of the Enlightenment is among the best ever written in the twentieth century, along with Paul Hazard's European Thought in the 18th century and Ernst Cassirer's The Philosophy of the Enlightenment. I do recommend all to read both volumes of this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
142 of 151 people found the following review helpful
One of the most brilliant account of the Enlightenment 13 Mar. 1999
By W.T. Oosterveld - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Enlightenment by Peter Gay (2 volumes: The Rise of Modern Paganism and The Science of Freedom) surely ranks among the most brilliant accounts of eighteenth-century philosophy ever written. It is a sweeping account of the intellectual history of the 18th century, form its origins right into the French and American Revolutions. It traces the struggle of the small clique of 'philosophes' -a dispersed group of intellectual giants such as Voltaire, Hume, Lessing and Beccaria- as they fight against corruption, superstition and ignorance, which has kept Europe slumbering since the demise of the Roman Empire. The book vividly illustrates the ideas of the 'philosophes' and how they wanted to bring their reform programs into practice, and thereby spread the ideals of liberty and the pursuit of knowledge. Peter Gay deftly describes the cultural background of the 'philosophes' and explains how they came to challenge the establishment in order to bringing about these much needed changes so as to give their ideals a chance to prevail. The book has an extensive and well-readable bibliography with many good suggestions. This account of the Enlightenment is among the best ever written in the twentieth century, along with Paul Hazard's European Thought in the 18th century and Ernst Cassirer's The Philosophy of the Enlightenment. I do recommend all to read both volumes of this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tells what Enlightenment thinkers thought and why 27 May 2014
By Gary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book steps the reader through the development of the Enlightenment thinkers themselves. In addition to learning about the development of thought during the 18th century, I learned about Greek thinkers (stoic, skeptics and Epicureans), the Roman thinkers (especially Cicero), and the Renaissance period of thought.

This is an amazing book. It probably should not be a readers first introduction to the Enlightenment period, but it can be the reader's second. The book is very erudite and I was constantly looking up words and people or schools of thought on my Kindle, the author does presume the reader is very familiar with the philosophers of the Enlightenment and who they read. I would not have been able to finish this book in book form because of the constant stream of new concepts the author uses, but, on the Kindle (or equivalent device) this book is a delight to read. Wikipedia tells me the book was originally published in 1967 and was revised in the 1990s, but basically as I was reading the book it became apparent almost all of the citations were pre-1967. That gives the modern reader an interesting perspective on how the scholar from the 60s saw the thought of the 1700s.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Enlightenment. 22 Aug. 2010
By Don Artz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up a copy of Peter Gay's Enlightenment as a discard from our public library. It was a terrific book, but I noticed it was "Volume 1." So I had to go to Amazon to find volume 2 (They are not labeled as volume 1 or 2, they have different subtitles.) It, too was fine, better than fine. This is history writing at its best - great accomplishment for Peter Gay.

Don
Critical books for all 3 Dec. 2013
By Donald W. Weikle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This and volume one are two of the best books on the Enlightenment I have ever read. Extremely well written, exhaustively researched, yet told in a way that kept me reading like a novel. Great history about why the Enlightenment is so critical to understand.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
second volume of a set 18 Dec. 2013
By travel light and smiling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Gay articulates the history of The Enlightenment . The people of the era believed that they could achieve clarity and enlightenment. When did we lose faith that we could try for these goals?
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