Author(s): Isaiah Berlin
This is edited by Henry Hardy and Roger Hausheer and with a new foreword by Andrew Marr. Isaiah Berlin was one of the leading thinkers of the century, and one of the finest writers. The Proper Study Of Mankind selects some of the best of his essays. The full (and enormous) range of his work is represented here, from the exposition of his most distinctive doctrine - pluralism - to studies of Machiavelli, Tolstoy, Churchill and Roosevelt. In these pages he encapsulates the principal movements that characterise the modern age: romanticism, historicism, Fascism, relativism, irrationalism and nationalism. His ideas are always tied to the people who conceived them, so that abstractions are brought alive. His insights both illuminate the past and offer a key to the burning issues of the today.
An anthology of Isaiah Berlin's best and most representative work, drawn from a lifetime's writing by this most distinguished philosopher and historian of ideas.
Isaiah Berlin was born in Riga, now capital of Latvia, in 1909. When he was six, his family moved to Russia; there in 1917, in Petrograd, he witnessed both Revolutions - Social Democratic and Bolshevik. In 1921 he and his parents came to England, and he was educated at St Paul's School, London, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. At Oxford he was a Fellow of All Souls, a Fellow of New College, Professor of Social and Political Theory, and founding President of Wolfson College. He also held the Presidency of the British Academy. In addition to The Proper Study of Mankind, his main published works are Karl Marx, Russian Thinkers, Concepts and Categories, Against the Current, Personal Impressions, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Sense of Reality, Roots of Romanticism, The Power of Ideas, Three Critics of the Enlightenment, Freedom and Its Betrayal, Liberty, The Soviet Mind and Politcal Ideas in the Romantic Age. As an exponent of the history of ideas he was awarded the Erasmus, Lippincott and Agnelli Prizes; he also received the Jerusalem Prize for his lifelong defence of civil liberties. He died in 1997. Henry Hardy, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is one of Isaiah Berlin's Literary Trustees. He has edited (or co-edited) many other books by Berlin, including the first three of four volumes of his letters, and is currently working on the remaining volume. Roger Hausheer has taught at Oxford, Giessen and Bradford Universities, among others, and is currently a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Montenegro at Podgorica. He is working on an intellectual biography of Isaiah Berlin, and a study of the German Idealist philosophers Fichte and Schelling. Noel Annan was successively Provost of King's College, Cambridge, Provost of University College London, and Vice-Chancellor of London University. His many books include Our Age: Portrait of a Generation (1990). Andrew Marr, formerly the BBC's Political Editor, now hosts The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One and Start the Week on Radio 4. His most recent TV documentary is Andrew Marr's History of the World on BBC One, also published in book form in 2012.