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The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays Hardcover – 20 Feb 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (20 Feb. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701165278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701165277
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 4 x 15.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,197,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Berlin . . . addresses his essays to the general reader, and he speaks with such infectious energy that he sweeps us up and carries us with him into territory that had seemed inaccessible. He becomes everyman's guide to everything exciting in the history of ideas." --Robert Darnton, "The New York Review of Books"
"No one makes more sense of the intellectual chaos of the modern world, no one has more searching perceptions of the need and the limits of human judgment, no one embodies more realistically and intrepidly the hope of human reason." --Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "The Washington Post Book World"


Berlin . . . addresses his essays to the general reader, and he speaks with such infectious energy that he sweeps us up and carries us with him into territory that had seemed inaccessible. He becomes everyman's guide to everything exciting in the history of ideas. "Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books"

No one makes more sense of the intellectual chaos of the modern world, no one has more searching perceptions of the need and the limits of human judgment, no one embodies more realistically and intrepidly the hope of human reason. "Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Washington Post Book World""

Berlin . . . addresses his essays to the general reader, and he speaks with such infectious energy that he sweeps us up and carries us with him into territory that had seemed inaccessible. He becomes everyman's guide to everything exciting in the history of ideas. Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books

No one makes more sense of the intellectual chaos of the modern world, no one has more searching perceptions of the need and the limits of human judgment, no one embodies more realistically and intrepidly the hope of human reason. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Washington Post Book World

"

"Berlin . . . addresses his essays to the general reader, and he speaks with such infectious energy that he sweeps us up and carries us with him into territory that had seemed inaccessible. He becomes everyman's guide to everything exciting in the history of ideas." --Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books

"No one makes more sense of the intellectual chaos of the modern world, no one has more searching perceptions of the need and the limits of human judgment, no one embodies more realistically and intrepidly the hope of human reason." --Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Washington Post Book World

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The long-awaited Isaiah Berlin 'Reader' - an anthology of his best and most representative work, drawn from a lifetime's writing by this most distinguished philosopher and historian of ideas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
This collection of Berlin's essays contains some of his masterpieces. Unlike many philosophers his writings are always clear, accessible and written with great style. Amongst my favourites in this volume are his essay on Machiavelli,which illustrates his views on the incommensurability and incompatibility of sets of values, and Herder with his counter-enlightenment views on individual cultures which cannot be ranked against one another. In addition to the examination of the ideas of thinkers such as these there are essays on broader concepts and themes, including Berlin's famous essay on the two concepts of liberty, and various sketches of famous people in the twentieth century, such as Churchill, Roosevelt, Akhmatova and Pasternak. This book is one of the weightier tomes (seventeen essays) of Berlin's writing, but I think it gives the widest illustration of Berlin's range of thought and interest.
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By Scampo TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this having read Berlin's "The Roots of Romanticism", which was the clearest and liveliest exposition of how the 18C romantic movement came into being that I have ever read. Berlin's style is new to me and, well - I am still wondering at just much clearer it is than other writers on the philosophy of ideas. It is true that there is sometimes a certain level of prolixity in the way Berlin explains his thoughts, but this does not work against his explanation, it simply helps to make his style all the more engaging, authentic and authoritative.

In this volume Henry Hardy, as in the "Roots of Romanticism", acts as editor to collate a series of the most popular of Berlin's past essays. You only have to read "The Hedgehog and the Fox" or "The Originality of Machiavelli" to discover just how successfully and entertainingly Berlin manages to explain what many other writers struggle to do. Berlin is clearly not only deeply knowledgeable but also passionate about his topic and you can feel just how much he wants to communicate his knowledge and ideas. These essays are almost "alive" in the sense of the man behind them breathing life into the words.

This book is very highly recommended reading for anyone who feels the need to know how we arrived at where we are today via the classical civilisations, through to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Romanticism and on to today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is cleverly written and tackles huge subjects. Berlin is a great writer and you will definitely benefit from his wisdom. After two gap years before university this book is slowly grinding my brain into gear - it feels so good to be challenged and forced to think for once!
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