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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407014098
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

The Roads to Modernity

The British, French and American Enlightenments

A keenly argued and thought-provoking history of the British, French and American Enlightenments by one of Gordon Brown's favourite writers

Gertrude Himmelfarb's elegant and eminently readable work, The Roads to Modernity, reclaims the Enlightenment from historians who have downgraded its importance and from scholars who have given preeminence to the Enlightenment in France over concurrent movements in England and

Contrasting the Enlightenments in the three nations, Himmerlfarb demonstrates the primacy and wisdom of the British, exemplified in such thinkers as Adam Smith, David Hume, and Edmund Burke, as well as the unique and enduring contributions of the American Founders. It is their Enlightenments, she argues, that created a social ethic - humane, compassionate and realistic - that still resonates strongly today.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407014098
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the author

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gertrude Himmelfarb is author of the critically acclaimed Roads to Modernity, an intellectual history of the British, French and American Englightenments. She has taught at the Graduate School of the City University of New York, where she was named Distinguished Professor of History in 1978 and is now Professor Emeritus. She has received the two highest honours bestowed by the United States for distinguished achievement in the humanities: the Jefferson Lectureship in the Humanities in 1991, and the National Humanities Medal in 2004. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and is a member of the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise for The Roads to Modernity

Supported with great passion and wide-ranging scholarship... Himmelfarb has written a keenly argued and thought-provoking intellectual history of the eighteenth century

San Francisco Chronicle

Exciting intellectual pugilism... Himmelfarb mounts a vigorous argument

New York Times Book Review

Exceptionally well written and clever

Washington Post Book World

Himmelfarb is one of the keenest intellects of our time

Houston Chronicle

She writes with a real grace and her effortless prose brings the history of ideas to life

Sunday Times

This stimulating essay makes a convincing case for the unique character and significance of the British Enlightenment


An intelligent history... the prose is elegant and the arguments engaging and she weaves her way gracefully and effortlessly across centuries, disciplines and nations


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