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About the book
  • Published: 1 June 2001
  • ISBN: 9780712665544
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $42.99

The Power Of Ideas


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'A volume which covers the key areas of Berlin's interests in an unusu ally accessible way; it will take its place as, quite simply, the best short introduction to his thinking. ' Sunday Telegraph

The Power of Ideas shows Isaiah Berlin at his most lucid and accessible. He was constitutionally incapable of writing with the opacity of the specialist, but these shorter, more introductory pieces provide the perfect starting-point for the reader new to his work. Those who are already familiar with his writing will also be grateful for this further addition to his collected essays.

The linking theme, as in the case of earlier volumes, is the crucial social and political role - past, present and future - of ideas, and of their progenitors. Among the contents are 'My Intellectual Path', Berlin's last essay, a retrospective autobiographical survey of his main preoccupations; and 'Jewish Slavery and Emancipation', the classic statement of his Zionist views, which his readers have long wanted to see reprinted. The book exhibits the full range of his enormously wide expertise, and demonstrates the striking and enormously engaging individuality, as well as the power, of his own ideas.

  • Pub date: 1 June 2001
  • ISBN: 9780712665544
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $42.99

About the Author

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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Praise for The Power Of Ideas

“The best short introduction to his thinking”

Sunday Telegraph

“A volume which covers the key areas of Berlin's interests in an unusually accessible way; it will take its place as, quite simply, the best short introduction to his thinking”

Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph

“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

“Each of these essays fulfils Raymond Carver's criterion for the short story: to leave the reader's body temperature a degree higher or lower than when the book was opened”

Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday

“Berlin's description of Jews in contemporary Western society is brilliant, indeed dazzling”

David Hillel-Ruben, Jewish Chronicle

“Shows how seriously he took the task of inspiring the general reader...displays the full breadth of his learning and experience”

Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph


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