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The Making of Modern Liberalism
Alan Ryan

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Spanning more than 45 years of scholarship, this collection of 33 articles, book chapters, and essays by political theorist Alan Ryan is an intellectual feast. His seemingly effortless conversational style places the leading figures of liberal political thought in intricate patterns of dialogue. . . . Ryan avoids the twin conceits of both hyper-historicism and hyper-textualism by deftly weaving biography, formal philosophy, economics, and political theory into compelling justifications for personal and political freedom. Specialists will marvel at the ease with which close reading and current scholarship pervade his analyses. Generalists will appreciate how accessibly Ryan's intricately structured arguments unfold. Those who read for sheer intellectual joy will especially like the chapters on culture and anxiety, the liberal community, and liberal imperialism, and will enjoy the subtle humor of the essay on Bertrand Russell's politics. The collection itself becomes an intellectual autobiography that keeps alive and advances the mind and the project of modern liberalism."--Choice

"This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in liberalism. It will be of interest primarily to political theorists who are concerned with philosophical discussions of liberalism, and its application to contemporary problems. However, historians of political thought, particularly those with an interest in Hobbes and Mill, will also find much of interest. This is a challenging and thought-provoking collection of essays, which are a testament to Ryan's wide knowledge and deep understanding of his subject."--Daniel Duggan, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

"Ryan himself has certainly contributed to the making of modern liberal and utilitarian thought. Scholars who study these subjects in either historical or contemporary variants will welcome this collection of his stimulating interpretations."--Amy R. McCready, Review of Politics

"An easier read than one might expect, and likely to become a staple on university reading lists for some time, it will not be lost on modern Liberals to flick through it and devour a few of the essays that take their fancy."--Stewart Rayment, Liberator


"Alan Ryan's magisterial standing in political theory is already well known, but this book--a wonderful array of learned, insightful, historical discussions--puts his mastery beyond doubt. And it is massively more than the sum of its parts. It is just what the title promises: an authoritative, comprehensive, multifaceted, and strikingly intelligent account of the rise of the liberal tradition."--Jeremy Waldron, University of Oxford

"These essays are at once a history, a tapestry, and a trenchant defense of liberalism at its best. They have been crafted by one of our generation's most fertile political minds. Alan Ryan's intellectual odyssey is both captivating and compelling."--Ian Shapiro, author of The Real World of Democratic Theory

"Alan Ryan in this impressive work lights up the vast field of liberalism. He presents an accumulation of beautifully formulated ideas and leaves us with an enhanced knowledge of the depths, complexities, and richness of liberalism. His style is both vigorous and elegant, and his prowess as an interpreter is formidable. This is an invaluable book."--George Kateb, author of Patriotism and Other Mistakes

"In The Making of Modern Liberalism, Alan Ryan sheds new light on key thinkers in the Western political tradition and presents his own liberal perspective on political affairs. Ryan's work shines with insight and intelligence. No one can read this book without being provoked to self-reflection, disagreement, and counterargument--precisely what's needed in a great work of political theory."--Glyn Morgan, Syracuse University

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File created: 4/24/2017

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