• A Revolution of the Mind

  • Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy
  • By: Jonathan Israel
  • Narrated by: James Adams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 29-09-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (11 ratings)

Summary

Democracy, free thought and expression, religious tolerance, individual liberty, political self-determination of peoples, sexual and racial equality - these values have firmly entered the mainstream in the decades since they were enshrined in the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. But if these ideals no longer seem radical today, their origin was very radical indeed - far more so than most historians have been willing to recognize.
In A Revolution of the Mind, Jonathan Israel, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment, traces the philosophical roots of these ideas to what were the least respectable strata of Enlightenment thought - what he calls the Radical Enlightenment. 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 privilage 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. The book is published by Princeton University Press.
©2010 Princeton University Press (P)2010 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic reviews

"We are lucky that a historian of Israel's caliber has taken these subjects on and lucky, too, that he has now produced a readable introduction to them." ( Harper's magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 07-09-16

Brilliant

Brilliant. A correction to many of the distorted ideas you probably picked up in school and university and an introduction to more exciting ideas that you should have been exposed to but were not. All deftly supported with a basis of solid fact . And written in an elegant and enjoyable style. The reading performance is also first rate.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 03-06-18

Good book, annoying performance

Jonathan Israel is a leading expert on the enlightenment, and this book is a distillation of his vast work on the subject. As such it's a valuable source of insight, but the book is dogged down by poor editing and the author's sometimes eccentric style. On the first page, for example, we are presented with the claim that "Four out of six of the Enlightenment's philosophical founding figures – Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Bayle –..." Who are the two others? We are never told. Most annoyingly, Israel has the habit of quoting lenghty passages in French without translation – a misfeature which is exacerbated by the narrator's ridicilously theatrical pronunciation. Recommended for the dedicated or masochists.

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