Follow an argument as it developed over the last four thousand years.
The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, And The Birth of Right And Left
This book offers a wonderful starting point for a long debate about Western society. Left and right, in this analysis it all starts with the French Revolution and the English attitudes towards that revolution.
Inventing The individual: The Orgins of Western Liberalism
A sweeping vision of Western social development focusing on how "equal in the eyes of God" became "equal in the eyes of the law," which offered individuals support for their individuality.
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot
One of the intellectual starting points for the re-emergence of American conservatives. This book has inspired conservative politicians such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Even though it's over six decades old, it's still a good read.
Liberalism: The Life of an Idea
A lively engaging survey of Western liberalism from it's beginnings in the early 19th century. The writing and analysis are masterful.
The Ancien Regime
The Ancien Regime is highly original analysis of French society based on scrupulous scholarship - perhaps the first serious attempt to explain the character of the Ancien Regime since Tocqueville's classic account of 1856.
The German Genius: Europe’s Third Renaissance, The Second Scientific Revolution, And The Twentieth Century
From the end of the Baroque era and the death of Bach to the rise of Hitler, Germany was transformed from a poor relation among Western nations into a dominant intellectual and cultural force. Here is the story of the thinkers who created the modern German Mind.
The Persistence of The Old Regime: Europe to the Great War
Here is a contrarian view of how Europe progressed through the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Here is the story of how and why the ancient regime didn't just go away, but instead applied perseverance right up to the out break of WWI.
From Agadir To Armageddon: Anatomy Of A Crisis
From Agadir to Armageddon is not an alarmist or contrived attempt to draw dramatic lessons from history. It is a careful, revealing and documented abservation of a key episode in twentieth-century diplomacy, and a comparison of societies in conflict. Every reader will draw his or her own conclusions about what this means for our current day issues and conflicts.
The Russian Origins Of The First World War
The catastrophe of the First World War, and the destruction, revolution, and enduring hostilities it wrought, make the issue of its origins a perennial puzzle. Since World War II, Germany has been viewed as the primary culprit. Now, in a major reinterpretation of the conflict, Sean McMeekin rejects the standard notions of the war’s beginning as either a Germano-Austrian preemptive strike or a “tragedy of miscalculation.” Instead, he proposes that the key to the outbreak of violence lies in St. Petersburg.
It was Russian statesmen who unleashed the war through conscious policy decisions based on imperial ambitions in the Near East. Unlike their civilian counterparts in Berlin, who would have preferred to localize the Austro-Serbian conflict, Russian leaders desired a more general war so long as British participation was assured. The war of 1914 was launched at a propitious moment for harnessing the might of Britain and France to neutralize the German threat to Russia’s goal: partitioning the Ottoman Empire to ensure control of the Straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Nearly a century has passed since the guns fell silent on the western front. But in the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, World War I smolders still. Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Jews, and other regional antagonists continue fighting over the last scraps of the Ottoman inheritance. As we seek to make sense of these conflicts, McMeekin’s powerful exposé of Russia’s aims in the First World War will illuminate our understanding of the twentieth century.
John Stuart Mill: A Biography
Nicholas Capaldi's biography of John Stuart Mill traces the ways in which Mill's many endeavors are related and explores the significance of his contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of education.
A History of The Jews: From Earliest Times Through The Six Day War
This is an old book, but retains a simple well thought out story based on sound judgement and scholarship. a Good starting point.
A History Of The Jews
Here is a wonderful discussion about the scholarship of Jewish history told as the stories, myths and history are presented.
Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
How do liberals and feminists -as well as conservatives- fatally misread human nature? This audacious and learned work of guerrilla scholarship offers nothing less than a unified-field theory of Western culture.
A Brief History Of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism-the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action-has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage.
The Road to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments
The Roads to Modernity reclaims the Enlightenment–an extraordinary time bursting with new ideas about the human condition in the realms of politics, society, and religion–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 America. Contrasting the Enlightenments in the three nations, Gertrude Himmelfarb demonstrates the primacy of the British and the wisdom and foresight of thinkers such as Adam Smith, David Hume, Thomas Paine, the Earl of Shaftesbury, Edward Gibbon, and Edmund Burke, who established its unique character and historic importance. It is this Enlightenment, she argues, that created a moral and social philosophy–humane, compassionate, and realistic–that still resonates strongly today, in America perhaps even more so than in Europe.
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century
A fascinating, eye-opening and often shocking look at what lies ahead for the U.S. and the world from one of our most incisive futurists. In his thought-provoking new book, George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR—the preeminent private intelligence and forecasting firm—focuses on what he knows best, the future. Positing that civilization is at the dawn of a new era, he offers a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the twenty-first century all based on his own thorough analysis and research.
Fire And Light: How The Enlightment Transformed our World
In this engaging, provocative history, James MacGregor Burns brilliantly illuminates the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, when audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, overturning governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments. Fire and Light brings to vivid life the galaxy of revolutionary leaders of thought and action who, armed with a new sense of human possibility, driven by a hunger for change, created the modern world.
The Condition of Postmodernity
The Condition of Postmodernity is David Harvey's seminal history of our most equivocal of eras. What does postmodernism mean? Where did it come from? Harvey, a professor of geography and a key mover behind extending the scope and influence of the discipline of geography itself, does a thorough job here delineating the passage through to postmodernity and the economic, social, and political changes that underscored and accompanied it. As he clearly states, the rise in postmodernist cultural forms is related to a new intensity in what Harvey terms "time-space compression," but this new intensity is a qualitative rather than quantitative change in social organization, and it does not point to an era beyond capitalism as "the basic rules of capitalistic accumulation" remain unchanged.
One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America
We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that. As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal.
Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Times
Fear Itself changes the ground rules for our understanding of this pivotal era in American history. Ira Katznelson examines the New Deal through the lens of a pervasive, almost existential fear that gripped a world defined by the collapse of capitalism and the rise of competing dictatorships, as well as a fear created by the ruinous racial divisions in American society. Katznelson argues that American democracy was both saved and distorted by a Faustian collaboration that guarded racial segregation as it built a new national state to manage capitalism and assert global power.
Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America)
In the early 1960s, American conservatives seemed to have fallen on hard times. McCarthyism was on the run, and movements on the political left were grabbing headlines. The media lampooned John Birchers's accusations that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist puppet. Mainstream America snickered at warnings by California Congressman James B. Utt that "barefooted Africans" were training in Georgia to help the United Nations take over the country. Yet, in Utt's home district of Orange County, thousands of middle-class suburbanites proceeded to organize a powerful conservative movement that would land Ronald Reagan in the White House and redefine the spectrum of acceptable politics into the next century.
One by one this collection unfolds the major themes of cultural change and social resistance. They depict a struggle that has been violent, dramatic and brilliant during it's many changing phases. By reading the cultural and political story as a pairing of left and right political views a great deal of history falls into place. These are fascinating books that I found well worth the effort of reading. With their insights contemporary politics become easier to interpret.