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The Essential Hirschman
Albert O. Hirschman
Edited and with an introduction by Jeremy Adelman
Afterword by Emma Rothschild & Amartya Sen

Paperback | 2015 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691165677
Hardcover | 2013 | $30.95 | £25.95 | ISBN: 9780691159904
408 pp. | 6 x 9 | 2 tables.
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The Essential Hirschman brings together some of the finest essays in the social sciences, written by one of the twentieth century's most influential and provocative thinkers. Albert O. Hirschman was a master essayist, one who possessed the rare ability to blend the precision of economics with the elegance of literary imagination. In an age in which our academic disciplines require ever-greater specialization and narrowness, it is rare to encounter an intellectual who can transform how we think about inequality by writing about traffic, or who can slip in a quote from Flaubert to reveal something surprising about taxes. The essays gathered here span an astonishing range of topics and perspectives, including industrialization in Latin America, imagining reform as more than repair, the relationship between imagination and leadership, routine thinking and the marketplace, and the ways our arguments affect democratic life. Throughout, we find humor, unforgettable metaphors, brilliant analysis, and elegance of style that give Hirschman such a singular voice.

Featuring an introduction by Jeremy Adelman that places each of these essays in context as well as an insightful afterword by Emma Rothschild and Amartya Sen, The Essential Hirschman is the ideal introduction to Hirschman for a new generation of readers and a must-have collection for anyone seeking his most important writings in one book.

Albert O. Hirschman (1915-2012) was one of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century, renowned for his contributions to economics, the social sciences, and the history of ideas. Jeremy Adelman is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Princeton University. His books include Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman (Princeton).


"Adelman . . . has done an excellent job of bringing together articles that express Hirschman's skepticism, as well as brilliant observation, often consisting of brilliant juxtapositions of unlikely sources. . . . [T]hose who do sink their teeth into this work will be highly rewarded."--Choice


"A survivor of Nazi Germany, Albert Hirschman was an essential thinker--one of the very few best of the twentieth century. Wise, delightful, and full of life, he was incapable of writing a dull page. He knew what made people tick, and he knew what made societies work. This book glistens with insights, surprises, and paradoxes. Each chapter is a gem."--Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

"Albert O. Hirschman's work should be rediscovered and studied by every new generation of social scientists for a long time to come."--Claus Offe, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

"An excellent selection of essays including all of Hirschman's finest pieces."--Dani Rodrik, author of The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy

Table of Contents

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Albert O. Hirschman:

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Amartya Sen:

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Jeremy Adelman:

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Emma Rothschild:

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