The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski
The Life and Ideas of a Popular Science Icon
Biography of Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974), Polish-born British scientist. Title is play on his own text and British television series, Ascent of man.
The Crooked Timber of Humanity
Chapters in the History of Ideas
2nd Edition Paperback
"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."--Immanuel Kant
Isaiah Berlin was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century--an activist of the intellect who marshaled vast erudition and eloquence in defense of the endangered values of individual liberty and moral and political pluralism. In The Crooked Timber of Humanity, he exposes the links between the ideas of the past and the social and political cataclysms of our own time: between the Platonic belief in absolute truth and the lure of authoritarianism; between the eighteenth-century reactionary ideologue Joseph de Maistre and twentieth-century Fascism; between the romanticism of Schiller and Byron and the militant--and sometimes genocidal--nationalism that convulses the modern world.
This new edition features a corrected text that supplants all previous versions, additional references, a new foreword in which award-winning novelist John Banville discusses Berlin's life and ideas, particularly his defense of pluralism, and a substantial new appendix that provides rich context, including letters by Berlin and some previously uncollected writings, most notably his virtuoso review of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy.
The Dark Side of Knowledge
Histories of Ignorance, 1400 to 1800
Thoroughly researched contributions from conferences at Harvard and Paris on coping with ignorance in late medieval and early modern administrative practices, science, literature and the arts, are tightly connected by a new theoretical framework on how to historicize ignorance.
Dinner in Camelot
The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House
"Chronicles the Nobel Prize dinner at the Kennedy White House"--Provided by the publisher.
The End of the French Intellectual
From Zola to Houellebecq
Charting the decline of the French intellectual, from the Dreyfus Affair to Islamophobia
The best-selling author of The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand examines the troublesome figure of the French intellectual. Revered throughout the Francophile world, France’s tradition of public intellectual engagement stems from Voltaire and Zola and runs through Sartre and Foucault to the present day. The intellectual enjoys a status as the ethical lodestar of his nation’s life, but, as Sand shows, the recent history of these esteemed figures shows how often, and how profoundly, they have fallen short of the ideal.
Sand examines Sartre and de Beauvoir’s unsettling accommodations during the Nazi occupation and then shows how Muslims have replaced Jews as the nation’s scapegoats for a new generation of public intellectuals, including Michel Houellebecq and Alain Finkielkraut. Possessing an intimate knowledge of the Parisian intellectual milieu, Sand laments the degradation of a literary elite, but questions the value of that class at the best of times.
Drawing parallels between the Dreyfus Affair and Charlie Hebdo, while mixing reminiscence with analysis, Sand casts a characteristically candid and mordant gaze upon the intellectual scene of today.
This is the first complete biography of Ernst Kantorowicz (1895
Fire in the Minds of Men
Origins of the Revolutionary Faith
This book traces the origins of a faith--perhaps the faith of the century. Modern revolutionaries are believers, no less committed and intense than were Christians or Muslims of an earlier era. What is new is the belief that a perfect secular order will emerge from forcible overthrow of traditional authority. This inherently implausible idea energized Europe in the nineteenth century, and became the most pronounced ideological export of the West to the rest of the world in the twentieth century. Billington is interested in revolutionaries--the innovative creators of a new tradition. His historical frame extends from the waning of the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century to the beginnings of the Russian Revolution in the early twentieth century.
The theater was Europe of the industrial era; the main stage was the journalistic offices within great cities such as Paris, Berlin, London, and St. Petersburg. Billington claims with considerable evidence that revolutionary ideologies were shaped as much by the occultism and proto-romanticism of Germany as the critical rationalism of the French Enlightenment. The conversion of social theory to political practice was essentially the work of three Russian revolutions: in 1905, March 1917, and November 1917.
Events in the outer rim of the European world brought discussions about revolution out of the school rooms and press rooms of Paris and Berlin into the halls of power.
Despite his hard realism about the adverse practical consequences of revolutionary dogma, Billington appreciates the identity of its best sponsors, people who preached social justice transcending traditional national, ethnic, and gender boundaries. When this book originally appeared The New Republic hailed it as "remarkable, learned and lively," while The New Yorker noted that Billington "pays great attention to the lives and emotions of individuals and this makes his book absorbing." It is an invaluable work of history and contribution to our understanding of political life.
The Fire Is upon Us
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America
An examination of the historic televised debate between literary civil rights activist James Baldwin and conservative intellectual William F. Buckley, Jr. identifies its role in shaping the racially divided political beliefs of today
The Forum and the Tower
How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt
The Forum and the Tower tackles a fascinating and perennial topic: the relationship between the academy and the world of politics. For all the talk about the remoteness of ivory tower ideas from 'the real world,' it is the case that ideas do in fact have consequences. In recent US history, the careers of Henry Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan illustrate how ideas drive politics. Oftentimes the translations of ideas into action results in severe distortions of their original meaning, but the relationship between ideas and revolutionary political and social change is a constant. The accomplished Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon traces this crucial relationship from Greek times, taking readers through the Roman Empire, Renaissance Italy, the English revolution, the Federalist era in the US, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the Concert of Europe, the progressive era, and the New Deal/World War II era. Her aim is to utilize history to show how intellectuals and politicians can work productively. That has in fact happened in recent times: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the product of a team of philosophers and political theorists working alongside Eleanor Roosevelt. That declaration has had a lasting and positive effect on world politics, revolutionizing the terms of the discussion and setting new benchmarks for states to follow. She closes with a consideration of intellectuals in American politics in more recent times.
Scott, Zelda, and the Jazz Age Invasion of Britain: 1904-1929
The story of F. Scott Fitzgerald's creation of Jay Gatsby