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Description - The Power of Ideas by Isaiah Berlin

Over a hundred years ago, the German poet Heine warned the French not to underestimate the power of ideas: philosophical concepts nurtured in the stillness of a professor's study could destroy a civilisation' - Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958. The nineteen essays collected here show Isaiah Berlin at his most lucid: these short, introductory pieces provide the perfect starting point for the reader new to his work. Their linking theme is the crucial social and political role of ideas, and of their progenitors. The subjects vary widely - from philosophy to education, from Russia to Israel, from Marxism to romanticism - and the appositeness of Heine's warning is exemplified on a broad front. The contents include Berlin's last essay - a retrospective autobiographical survey and the classic statement of his Zionist views. As a whole the book exhibits the full range of his expertise, and demonstrates the enormously engaging individuality, as well as the power, of his own ideas.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780712665544
ISBN-10: 0712665544
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 153mm x 18mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 19-Apr-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Power of Ideas by Isaiah Berlin

UK Kirkus Review » Ranging from Zionism to the Enlightenment, to the Russian Intelligentia here is a welcome collection of Berlins most lucid and well-crafted essays orbiting around his first preoccupation - the potency of ideas. Together they construct a strong edifice that defends the need for intellectual history. With characteristic clarity Berlin tackles opaque subjects and renders them intelligible: his topics include Vissarion Belinsky, Alexander Herzen and G V Plekhanov as well as overarching concepts such as historicism, political realism and the idea of liberty. Berlin heeded the warning of the German poet Heine that 'philosophical concepts nurtured in the stillness of a professor's study could destroy a civilisation.' (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin was born in Riga, now capital of Latvia, in 1909. When he was six, his family moved to Russia, and in Petrograd in 1917 Berlin witnessed both Revolutions - Social Democratic and Bolshevik. In 1921 he and his parents emigrated to England, where he was educated at St Paul's School, London, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Apart from his war service in New York, Washington, Moscow and Leningrad, he remained at Oxford thereafter - as a Fellow of All Souls, then of New College, as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, and as founding President of Wolfson College. He also held the Presidency of the British Academy. His published work includes Karl Marx, Russian Thinkers, Concepts and Categories, Against the Current, Personal Impressions, The Sense of Reality, The Proper Study of Mankind, The Roots of Romanticism, The Power of Ideas, Three Critics of the Enlightenment, Freedom and Its Betrayal, Liberty, The Soviet Mind and Political Ideas in the Romantic Age. As an exponent of the history of ideas he was awarded the Erasmus, Lippincott and Agnelli Prizes; he also received the Jerusalem Prize for his lifelong defence of civil liberties. He died in 1997.

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