Written in the form of a Socratic dialogue, The Republic is an investigation into the nature of an ideal society. In this far-reaching and profoundly influential treatise, Plato explores the concept of justice, the connection between politics and psychology, the difference between words and what they represent, and the roles of art and education, among many other topics. A towering achievement of philosophical insight, The Republic is as relevant to readers today as it was to the citizens of ancient Athens.
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You Have Been Lied To.
The government is expanding.
Taxes are increasing.
More senseless wars are being planned.
Inflation is ballooning.
Our basic freedoms are disappearing.
The Founding Fathers didn't want any of this. In fact, they said so quite clearly in the Constitution of the United States of America. Unfortunately, that beautiful, ingenious, and revolutionary document is being ignored more and more in Washington. If we are to enjoy peace, freedom, and prosperity once again, we absolutely must return to the principles upon which America was founded. But finally, there is hope...
In THE REVOLUTION, Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has exposed the core truths behind everything threatening America, from the real reasons behind the collapse of the dollar and the looming financial crisis, to terrorism and the loss of our precious civil liberties. In this book, Ron Paul provides answers to questions that few even dare to ask.
Despite a media blackout, this septuagenarian physician-turned-congressman sparked a movement that has attracted a legion of young, dedicated, enthusiastic supporters . . . a phenomenon that has amazed veteran political observers and made more than one political rival envious. Candidates across America are already running as "Ron Paul Republicans."
"Dr. Paul cured my apathy," says a popular campaign sign. THE REVOLUTION may cure yours as well.
Here is the world’s most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince...a king...a president.
When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. The prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government and is the ultimate book on power politics.
This Bantam Classic edition of The Prince includes selections from Machiavelli’s Discourses as well as an introduction and notes by the translator, Daniel Donno.
This revised edition of Mansfield's acclaimed translation features an updated bibliography, a substantial glossary, an analytic introduction, a chronology of Machiavelli's life, and a map of Italy in Machiavelli's time.
"Of the other available [translations], that of Harvey C. Mansfield makes the necessary compromises between exactness and readability, as well as providing an excellent introduction and notes."—Clifford Orwin, The Wall Street Journal
"Mansfield's work . . . is worth acquiring as the best combination of accuracy and readability."—Choice
"There is good reason to assert that Machiavelli has met his match in Mansfield. . . . [He] is ready to read Machiavelli as he demands to be read—plainly and boldly, but also cautiously."—John Gueguen, The Sixteenth Century Journal
With an irreverent voice, incredible wit, and a firm take on just about everything, this is a manual for how to think about stuff, by a guy who has thought about precisely that same stuff. And, even if you disagree with Greg, this book will make you laugh--guaranteed.*
The famous bestseller with “concise insight into what drives the mind of the fanatic and the dynamics of a mass movement” (Wall St. Journal) by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Eric Hoffer, The True Believer is a landmark in the field of social psychology, and even more relevant today than ever before in history. Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The True Believer is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the machinations by which an individual becomes a fanatic.
From Socrates to Sartre presents a rousing and readable introduction to the lives, and times of the great philosophers. This thought-provoking book takes us from the inception of Western society in Plato’s Athens to today when the commanding power of Marxism has captured one third of the world. T. Z. Lavine, Elton Professor of Philosophy at George Washington University, makes philosophy come alive with astonishing clarity to give us a deeper, more meaningful understanding of ourselves and our times.
From Socrates to Sartre discusses Western philosophers in terms of the historical and intellectual environment which influenced them, and it connects their lasting ideas to the public and private choices we face in America today.
From Socrates to Sartre formed the basis of from the PBS television series of the same name.
From the Paperback edition.
Composed in exile and published posthumously, The Prince is Niccolò Machiavelli’s legacy and the foundation of modern political theory. Drawing on his firsthand experiences as a diplomat and military commander in the Florentine Republic, Machiavelli disregards the rhetorical flourishes and sentimentality typically found in sixteenth-century mirrors for princes—guides instructing noblemen in the fine art of ruling—and gets straight to practical matters: how to eliminate rivals, when to use force, whether it is better to be loved or feared.
For its cold-blooded candor and unrepentant assertion that immorality can be a political virtue, The Prince was censured and Machiavelli’s name became synonymous with evil. Yet five centuries’ worth of political thinkers and leaders, from Thomas Cromwell to Francis Bacon to Napoleon Bonaparte to John Adams to Joseph Stalin, have turned to this slim volume for guidance and inspiration, because its advice on the acquisition and preservation of power contains the wisdom of experience—and, most importantly of all, because it works.
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The book includes the writings of many of the most distinguished observers of the Western experience from classical times (Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero), the Middle Ages (St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Christine de Pizan), modern times (Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, The Federalist Papers, "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen," Burke, Marie-Olympes de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, Bentham, Mill, de Tocqueville, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche), or the ideas of twentieth-century political philosophers and ideologists (Weber, Mosca, Michels, Lenin, Freud, Emma Goldman, Mussolini, Arendt, Orwell, de Beauvoir, Fanon, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Leo Strauss, Walzer, Rawls, Nozick, Habermas, and Foucault).
Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature--to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature?
"The Case against Perfection" explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda.
In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America's preeminent moral and political thinkers.
The sequel to Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, State of Exception is the first book to theorize the state of exception in historical and philosophical context. In Agamben's view, the majority of legal scholars and policymakers in Europe as well as the United States have wrongly rejected the necessity of such a theory, claiming instead that the state of exception is a pragmatic question. Agamben argues here that the state of exception, which was meant to be a provisional measure, became in the course of the twentieth century a normal paradigm of government. Writing nothing less than the history of the state of exception in its various national contexts throughout Western Europe and the United States, Agamben uses the work of Carl Schmitt as a foil for his reflections as well as that of Derrida, Benjamin, and Arendt.
In this highly topical book, Agamben ultimately arrives at original ideas about the future of democracy and casts a new light on the hidden relationship that ties law to violence.
A little-known classic in the spirit of Machiavelli's Prince, How to Win an Election is required reading for politicians and everyone who enjoys watching them try to manipulate their way into office.
This is an Uprising traces the evolution of civil resistance, providing new insights into the contributions of early experimenters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., groundbreaking theorists such as Gene Sharp and Frances Fox Piven, and contemporary practitioners who have toppled repressive regimes in countries such as South Africa, Serbia, and Egypt. Drawing from discussions with activists now working to defend human rights, challenge corporate corruption, and combat climate change, the Englers show how people with few resources and little influence in conventional politics can nevertheless engineer momentous upheavals.
Although it continues to prove its importance in political life, the strategic use of nonviolent action is poorly understood. Nonviolence is usually studied as a philosophy or moral code, rather than as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. This is an Uprising corrects this oversight. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, and if we decline to incorporate them into our view of how societies progress, then we pass up the chance to fully grasp a critical phenomenon—and to harness its power to create lasting change.
Introduction. Selected Bibliography.
I. EARLY PHILOSOPHICAL WRITINGS.
1. On the Jewish Question
2. Toward a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction
3. Excerpt-Notes of 1844 (selections)
4. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (selections): Preface; Alienated Labor; Private Property and Communism; Critique of Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy in General; Phenomenology
5. Theses on Feuerbach
II. WRITINGS ON HISTORICAL MATERIALISM.
1. The German Ideology, Part 1 (selections)
2. The Communist Manifesto
3. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (selections)
4. Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
III. ECONOMIC WRITINGS.
1. Capital, Volume One (selections): Preface to the First Edition;
* Chapter 1: The Commodity, Sections 1, 2, and 4
* Chapter 2: The Process of Exchange
* From Chapter 3: Money, or the Circulation of Commodities
* Chapter 4: The General Formula for Capital
* Chapter 6: The Sale and Purchase of Labor-Power
* Chapter 7: The Labor Process and the Valorization Process
* Chapter 26: The Secret of Primitive Accumulation
* Chapter 32: The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation
IV. LATE POLITICAL WRITINGS.
1. The Civil War in France (excerpt)
2. Critique of the Gotha Program
3. Marginal Notes on Bakunin's Statism and Anarchy (excerpt)
"Roy Scranton's Learning to Die in the Anthropocene presents, without extraneous bullshit, what we must do to survive on Earth. It's a powerful, useful, and ultimately hopeful book that more than any other I've read has the ability to change people's minds and create change. For me, it crystallizes and expresses what I've been thinking about and trying to get a grasp on. The economical way it does so, with such clarity, sets the book apart from most others on the subject."--Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy
"Roy Scranton lucidly articulates the depth of the climate crisis with an honesty that is all too rare, then calls for a reimagined humanism that will help us meet our stormy future with as much decency as we can muster. While I don't share his conclusions about the potential for social movements to drive ambitious mitigation, this is a wise and important challenge from an elegant writer and original thinker. A critical intervention."--Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
"Concise, elegant, erudite, heartfelt & wise."--Amitav Ghosh, author of Flood of Fire
"War veteran and journalist Roy Scranton combines memoir, philosophy, and science writing to craft one of the definitive documents of the modern era."--The Believer Best Books of 2015
Coming home from the war in Iraq, US Army private Roy Scranton thought he'd left the world of strife behind. Then he watched as new calamities struck America, heralding a threat far more dangerous than ISIS or Al Qaeda: Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, megadrought--the shock and awe of global warming.
Our world is changing. Rising seas, spiking temperatures, and extreme weather imperil global infrastructure, crops, and water supplies. Conflict, famine, plagues, and riots menace from every quarter. From war-stricken Baghdad to the melting Arctic, human-caused climate change poses a danger not only to political and economic stability, but to civilization itself . . . and to what it means to be human. Our greatest enemy, it turns out, is ourselves. The warmer, wetter, more chaotic world we now live in--the Anthropocene--demands a radical new vision of human life.
In this bracing response to climate change, Roy Scranton combines memoir, reportage, philosophy, and Zen wisdom to explore what it means to be human in a rapidly evolving world, taking readers on a journey through street protests, the latest findings of earth scientists, a historic UN summit, millennia of geological history, and the persistent vitality of ancient literature. Expanding on his influential New York Times essay (the #1 most-emailed article the day it appeared, and selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014), Scranton responds to the existential problem of global warming by arguing that in order to survive, we must come to terms with our mortality.
Plato argued that to philosophize is to learn to die. If that’s true, says Scranton, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age--for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The trouble now is that we must learn to die not as individuals, but as a civilization.
Roy Scranton has published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Boston Review, and Theory and Event, and has been interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air, among other media.
This volume is compiled from the speeches and articles delivered and written by Marcus Garvey from time to time.
My purpose for compiling same primarily, was not for publication, but rather to keep as a personal record of the opinions and sayings of my husband during his career as the leader of that portion of the human family known as the Negro race. However, on second thought, I decided to publish this volume in order to give to the public an opportunity of studying and forming an opinion of him; not from inflated and misleading newspaper and magazine articles, but from expressions of thoughts enunciated by him in defense of his oppressed and struggling race; so that by his own words he may be judged, and Negroes the world over may be informed and inspired, for truth, brought to light, forces conviction, and a state of conviction inspires action. The history of contact between the white and Black races for the last three hundred years or more, records only a series of pillages, wholesale murders, atrocious brutalities, industrial exploitation, disfranchisement of the one on the other; the strong against the weak; but the sun of evolution is gradually rising, shedding its light between the clouds of misery and oppression, and quickening and animating to racial consciousness and eventual national independence Black men and women the world over.
It is human, therefore, that few of us within the Negro race can comprehend this transcendent period. We all suffer in a more or less degree; we all feel this awakened spirit of true manhood and womanhood; but it is given to few the vision of leadership; it is an inspiration; it is a quality born in man. Therefore in the course of leadership it is natural that one should meet opposition because of ignorance, lack of knowledge and sympathy of the opposition in understanding fully the spirit of leadership.
With the dawn of this new era, which precedes the day of national independence for Negroes, it is well for all members of the race to understand their leadership; know what its essentials, its principles are, and help it to attain its goal and liberate a race in the truest sense of the word.
In Chapter 1 of this volume I have endeavored to place before my reader’s gems of expression convincing in their truths. Chapter 2 deals with definitions and expositions of various interesting themes. Chapters 3 and 4 contain a collection of brief essays on subjects affecting world conditions generally and Negroes in particular. In Chapter 5 I have reproduced what I consider two of the best speeches of my husband. It is my sincere hope and desire that this small volume will help to disseminate among the members of my race everywhere the true knowledge of their past history, the struggles and strivings of the present leadership, and the glorious future of national independence in a free and redeemed Africa, achieved through organized purpose and organized action.
New York City
February, 23, 1923
In Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges—a renowned chronicler of the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline—investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution and resistance. Focusing on the stories of radicals and dissenters from around the world and throughout history, and drawing on an ambitious overview of prominent philosophers, historians, and novelists, Hedges explores what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Hedges, using a term coined by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, cites “sublime madness” as the essential force that guides the actions of rebels—the state of passion that causes the rebel to engage in an unwavering fight against overwhelmingly powerful and oppressive forces.
From South African activists who dedicated their lives to ending apartheid, to contemporary anti-fracking protestors in Canada, to whistleblowers in pursuit of transparency, Wages of Rebellion shows the cost of a life committed to speaking truth to power and demanding justice. This is a fight that requires us to find in acts of rebellion the sparks of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies beyond the possibility of success. For Hedges, resistance is not finally defined by what we achieve, but by what we become.
Considering the effects of segregation and integration across multiple social arenas, Anderson exposes the deficiencies of racial views on both the right and the left. She reveals the limitations of conservative explanations for black disadvantage in terms of cultural pathology within the black community and explains why color blindness is morally misguided. Multicultural celebrations of group differences are also not enough to solve our racial problems. Anderson provides a distinctive rationale for affirmative action as a tool for promoting integration, and explores how integration can be practiced beyond affirmative action.
Offering an expansive model for practicing political philosophy in close collaboration with the social sciences, this book is a trenchant examination of how racial integration can lead to a more robust and responsive democracy.
Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince what he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government and is the ultimate book on power politics.
In the foreword to this edition of W.K. Marriott's classic translation, author Michael Ennis delves into the motivations and machinations behind Machiavelli's work. As a bonus, this e-book includes five chapters from Ennis's novel, The Malice of Fortune, a heart-pounding, mind-bending mystery that pits Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci against a ruthless serial killer, set in the seething heart of Borgia politics.
offers a brilliant introduction by Edwin Curley, modernized spelling
and punctuation of the text, and the inclusion, along with historical
and interpretive notes, of the most significant variants between the
English version of 1651 and the Latin version of 1668. A glossary of
seventeenth-century English terms, and indexes of persons, subjects, and
scriptural passages help make this the most thoughtfully conceived
edition of Leviathan available.
Originating as a clandestine movement of ideas that was almost entirely hidden from public view during its earliest phase, the Radical Enlightenment matured in opposition to the moderate mainstream Enlightenment dominant in Europe and America in the eighteenth century. During the revolutionary decades of the 1770s, 1780s, and 1790s, the Radical Enlightenment burst into the open, only to provoke a long and bitter backlash. A Revolution of the Mind shows that this vigorous opposition was mainly due to the powerful impulses in society to defend the principles of monarchy, aristocracy, empire, and racial hierarchy--principles linked to the upholding of censorship, church authority, social inequality, racial segregation, religious discrimination, and far-reaching privilege for ruling groups.
In telling this fascinating history, A Revolution of the Mind reveals the surprising origin of our most cherished values--and helps explain why in certain circles they are frequently disapproved of and attacked even today.
“Andy Andrews will challenge you to reach your fullest potential.” - John C. Maxwell, Founder, The INJOYTM Group
“The Traveler’s Gift touched me in a way no other book ever has.” - Barbara Johnson, Humorist and Best-Selling Author
Only a few months ago, he was a successful executive. Now he’s a desperate man. But a divine adventure is about to unfold. Join David Ponder on an incredible journey that will help you discover the Seven Decisions for Success.
In the tradition of best-selling books by Og Mandino, The Traveler’s Gift is destined to become a classic.
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
With these stirring words, Jean-Jacques Rousseau begins The Social Contract—the first shot in a battle of ideas that would set the stage for the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. In the feverish days of the Enlightenment, Rousseau took aim squarely at the all-powerful French monarchy, proclaiming that no despot, no matter how powerful, had the right to terrorize his people. He laid out a plan for a new kind of government—an idea that was radical then, and remains so now.
The Social Contract is a landmark document from a fascinating period in world history and an invaluable guide to the foundations of modern democracy.
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In A Letter Concerning Toleration, composed as early as 1667 but not published for political reasons until 1689 — after the "Glorious Revolution" — Locke pleaded for religious tolerance on grounds similar to his argument for political freedom, i.e., that all men are by nature "free, equal, and independent," and are entitled to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship. To help guarantee the latter freedom, Locke called for separation of church and state.
The basis of social and political philosophy for generations, these works laid the foundation of the modern democratic state in England and abroad. Their enduring importance makes them essential reading for students of philosophy, history, and political science.
Written in the form of a dialog in which Socrates questions his students and fellow citizens, The Republic concerns itself chiefly with the question, "What is justice?" as well as Plato's theory of ideas and his conception of the philosopher's role in society. To explore the latter, he invents the allegory of the cave to illustrate his notion that ordinary men are like prisoners in a cave, observing only the shadows of things, while philosophers are those who venture outside the cave and see things as they really are, and whose task it is to return to the cave and tell the truth about what they have seen. This dynamic metaphor expresses at once the eternal conflict between the world of the senses (the cave) and the world of ideas (the world outside the cave), and the philosopher's role as mediator between the two.
High school and college students, as well as lovers of classical literature and philosophy, will welcome this handsome and inexpensive edition of an immortal work. It appears here in the fine translation by the English classicist Benjamin Jowett.
Drawn from the ranks of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, former Blackwater and other private security contractors, the CIA's Special Activities Division and the Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC), these elite soldiers operate worldwide, with thousands of secret commandos working in more than one hundred countries. Funded through “black budgets,” Special Operations Forces conduct missions in denied areas, engage in targeted killings, snatch and grab individuals and direct drone, AC-130 and cruise missile strikes. While the Bush administration deployed these ghost militias, President Barack Obama has expanded their operations and given them new scope and legitimacy.
Dirty Wars follows the consequences of the declaration that “the world is a battlefield,” as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond, Scahill reports from the frontlines in this high-stakes investigation and explores the depths of America's global killing machine. He goes beneath the surface of these covert wars, conducted in the shadows, outside the range of the press, without effective congressional oversight or public debate. And, based on unprecedented access, Scahill tells the chilling story of an American citizen marked for assassination by his own government.
As US leaders draw the country deeper into conflicts across the globe, setting the world stage for enormous destabilization and blowback, Americans are not only at greater risk—we are changing as a nation. Scahill unmasks the shadow warriors who prosecute these secret wars and puts a human face on the casualties of unaccountable violence that is now official policy: victims of night raids, secret prisons, cruise missile attacks and drone strikes, and whole classes of people branded as “suspected militants.” Through his brave reporting, Scahill exposes the true nature of the dirty wars the United States government struggles to keep hidden.
In Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson’s employees worked against all odds to defend liberty and the right to access arms through the production of 3D printed firearms. Now, Wilson crafts a unique and critical guide through the digital revolution and follows a group of digital radicals as they navigate political subterfuge—deflecting interference from the State Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—to create a technological miracle, against all odds.
Harkening to both Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and The Anarchist Cookbook, Come and Take It combines elements of a modern-day thriller with a fascinating philosophical treatise, and Wilson paints a scathing and timely portrait of an ideologically polarized America and his own struggle in the fight for liberty.
'We set about founding the best city we could, because we could be confident that if it was good we would find justice in it'
The Republic, Plato's masterwork, was first enjoyed 2,400 years ago and remains one of the most widely-read books in the world: as a foundational work of Western philosophy, and for the richness of its ideas and virtuosity of its writing. Presented as a dialogue between Plato's teacher Socrates and various interlocutors, it is an exhortation to philosophy, inviting its readers to reflect on the choices to be made if we are to live the best life available to us. This complex, dynamic work creates a picture of an ideal society governed not by the desire for money, power or fame, but by philosophy, wisdom and justice.
Christopher Rowe's accurate and enjoyable new translation remains faithful to the many variations of the Republic's tone, style and pace. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading, an outline of the work's main arguments and an introduction discussing Plato's relationship with Socrates, and the Republic's style, ideas and historical context.
Hannah Arendt’s insightful observations of the modern world, based on a profound knowledge of the past, constitute an impassioned contribution to political philosophy. In Between Past and Future Arendt describes the perplexing crises modern society faces as a result of the loss of meaning of the traditional key words of politics: justice, reason, responsibility, virtue, and glory. Through a series of eight exercises, she shows how we can redistill the vital essence of these concepts and use them to regain a frame of reference for the future. To participate in these exercises is to associate, in action, with one of the most original and fruitful minds of the twentieth century.
This revised and expanded edition introduces important corrections throughout and expands Strauss’s restatement of his position in light of Kojève’s commentary to bring it into conformity with the text as it was originally published in France.
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
In The Spirit of Compromise, eminent political thinkers Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson connect the rejection of compromise to the domination of campaigning over governing--the permanent campaign---in American democracy today. They show that campaigning for political office calls for a mindset that blocks compromise--standing tenaciously on principle to mobilize voters and mistrusting opponents in order to defeat them. Good government calls for an opposite cluster of attitudes and arguments--the compromising mindset--that inclines politicians to adjust their principles and to respect their opponents. It is a mindset that helps politicians appreciate and take advantage of opportunities for desirable compromise.
Gutmann and Thompson explore the dynamics of these mindsets by comparing the historic compromises on tax reform under President Reagan in 1986 and health care reform under President Obama in 2010. Both compromises were difficult to deliver but only tax reform was bipartisan. Drawing lessons from these and other important compromises--and failures to compromise--in American politics, Gutmann and Thompson propose changes in our political institutions, processes, and mindsets that would encourage a better balance between campaigning and governing.
Calling for greater cooperation in contemporary politics, The Spirit of Compromise will interest all who care about whether their government leaders can work together.
All Coterie Classics have been formatted for ereaders and devices and include a bonus link to the free audio book.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” ― Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Thomas Paine’s insights in Common Sense were first published in 1776 as an argument for American Independence. Today, this book is a foundational touchstone for American democracy and thought.