41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Daring Book, 7 Aug. 2007
A daring and breathtaking view of Modern Western political thought, starting at its roots in pre-Christian religions and taking us up to the Neo-cons and Blairites.
It builds successfully on his earlier works such as False Dawn and End Games. He attacks the ideas of progress and terror inherent in Christian, Liberal and other philosophies. I believe his attacks are significant and worth considering. I was always puzzled by the place of violence had in most Western philosophies. But I never saw it in terms of creating a new type of Human. Gray discusses the uses of terror in realizing these impossible goals. This was worth the read alone.
He also touches on the foolishness of universal answers. All problems are contingent and must be solved as they arise and not from an ideologically approved menu of solutions. There is no overarching narrative that must be followed.
It is strong on analyses but short on answers. Answers were not the point in this analyses though. He believes realism is the way out though. Some statements are left hanging. Such as a discussion of ethics based on realism asserts it is the best source for ethics, but never developed this. It is however well footnoted. So it is also a good starting point.
Not an easy read, but a good one. Enjoyed it.