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Very Good. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 398 p. This text provides an analysis of contemporary thinkers, ranging across the field of history, philosophy and politics. Clear expositions, and critical analysis of the thoughts of figures including Hobsbawn, E.P. Thompson, John Rawls, Friedrich Hayek and Leo Strauss.
Anderson is an admirable writer: even though he affects to disdain Oakeshott (perhaps only because of E.P. Thompson's encouragement) he is Oakeshottian in form if not in content: for he is an essayist. Where he differs is that he is negative rather than positive, and obsessed with power, force, money: those obsessions which make Marxist criticism great (as compared to Liberal criticism, of which he does a good job of deflating when considering Garton Ash), but also a bit irritating, since there are questions which occur to the reader which are perhaps not even evident to this hard, sentimental, secular consciousness: such as, in what sense is socialism actually a subtle or persuasive endeavour for a man to commit himself to for all of his days? In what sense is it edifying? Is it not simply to commit oneself to a lifetime of disillusionment: mostly of others, but eventually, inevitably, of oneself too? This said, the book is far ahead of most of what passes for political, literary commentary nowadays. Anderson is really a nineteenth-century figure out of his time.
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