This is a fascinating example of a small genre, in which the author decides at an early stage in his adult life that he would like to devote himself to a great figure whom he idolises, but who needs help of one kind or another to continue with his work, or at least for what he has done to be more widely appreciated... This book is in two unequal parts... One can sympathise with both men: one reluctant to read and have published what he had written in some cases years earlier, the other desperate to maintain the connection and realising that he could only do so by further bibliographical excavations... it shows another and more welcome side of Hardy’s tenacity.
A central theme of the philosophy of Berlin is acknowledged, that freedom of will and the role of human agency is central to making choices between competing ends and values... But, this is at the expense of fully exploring other concepts that Berlin vividly interrogated, such as the nature of freedom and the risks of totalitarianism. These are significant omissions... The scaffolding of scholarship is the well referenced claim and the definitive footnote. This book is a testament to the unsung effort behind their creation.