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The Riddle of the Modern World: Of Liberty, Wealth and Equality Paperback – 6 Apr 2002

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2000 edition (6 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333984501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333984505
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,940,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'No one who wishes to understand the great modern transformation of the industrialized world - the immense rise in human wealth even with an increase in population - can do so without studying the remarkable scholarship of the great British historian and anthropologist Alan Macfarlane. In The Riddle of the Modern World Alan Macfarlane looks at three thinkers - Montesquieu, Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville - who were alive when the great change took place to see if they, from direct observation, could explain what happened. - James Q. Wilson, Wall Street Journal


What conditions the chances of liberty, wealth and equality at the start of the third Christian millennium? Why did human civilizations develop so slowly for thousands of years, and then transform themselves during the last 300? This study of four great thinkers who lived between 1689 and 1995, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, De Tocqueville, and Ernest Gellner, weaves their lives and works together and through their own words shows how they approached the question of the nature of man, his past and his future.

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3 March 2002
Format: Paperback
8 people found this helpful
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Most helpful customer reviews on 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsA collection of conspectuses.
24 September 2002 - Published on
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful.
From The Independent Review
5.0 out of 5 starsConvinving Look Into Sources of English Exceptionalism
4 September 2003 - Published on
Format: Paperback
5 people found this helpful.
César González Rouco
3.0 out of 5 starsRather too much an ambitious work for so scarce results.
3 March 2002 - Published on
7 people found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsLove it!
30 March 2001 - Published on
11 people found this helpful.

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