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In Search of Isaiah Berlin Reviews

In Search of Isaiah Berlin by Henry Hardy

In Search of Isaiah Berlin

A Literary Adventure

Henry Hardy

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: I.B. Tauris
Publisher: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Publication date: 30 Sep 2018
ISBN: 9781788312448

Isaiah Berlin was one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century - a man who set ideas on fire. His defence of liberty and plurality was passionate and persuasive and inspired a generation. His ideas - especially his reasoned rejection of excessive certainty and political despotism - have become even more prescient and vital today. But who was the man behind such influential views? In Search of Isaiah Berlin tells the compelling story of a decades-long collaboration between Berlin and his editor, Henry Hardy, who made it his vocation to bring Berlin's huge body of work into print.

3 stars out of 5
9 Feb 2019

"a fascinating example of a small genre"

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.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Paschal Donohoe
2 Feb 2019

"scaffolding of scholarship is the well referenced claim and the definitive footnote... this book is a testament to the unsung effort behind their creation"

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.