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Empire and Revolution:
The Political Life of Edmund Burke
Richard Bourke

Co-Winner of the 2015 István Hont Book Prize, Institute of Intellectual History
Honorable Mention for the 2016 PROSE Award in Biography & Autobiography, Association of American Publishers
Selected for the Claremont Review of Books CRB Christmas Reading List 2015
One of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2015
One of The Indian Express Stand-Out Books of the Year 2015
One of the Irish Times 2015 Readers’ Books of the Year
Selected for National Review Online’s “Some Great 2015 Books”
One of The Spectator 2015 Books of the Year

Paperback | 2017 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691175652
1032 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 9 halftones. 1 table. 2 maps.
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Edmund Burke (1730–97) lived during one of the most extraordinary periods of world history. He grappled with the significance of the British Empire in India, fought for reconciliation with the American colonies, and was a vocal critic of national policy during three European wars. He also advocated reform in Britain and became a central protagonist in the great debate on the French Revolution. Drawing on the complete range of printed and manuscript sources, Empire and Revolution offers a vivid reconstruction of the major concerns of this outstanding statesman, orator, and philosopher. In restoring Burke to his original political and intellectual context, this book overturns the conventional picture of a partisan of tradition against progress and presents a multifaceted portrait of one of the most captivating figures in eighteenth-century life and thought. A boldly ambitious work of scholarship, this book challenges us to rethink the legacy of Burke and the turbulent era in which he played so pivotal a role.

Richard Bourke is professor in the history of political thought and codirector of the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought at Queen Mary University of London.


"[Empire and Revolution] takes us back to the beginning again with Burke, demolishing numerous shibboleths about his politics along the way. . . . This book is both more creative and exhaustive than anything else in its single-mindedness--quite an achievement."--Duncan Kelly, Times Literary Supplement

"Unsurpassable."--Colin Kidd, London Review of Books

"An intensely rewarding read."--Jesse Norman MP, Times

"Bourke's forensic anatomising of both the underlying consistency of Burke's commitments and also of the repeated misreadings to which his career has been subjected is a pleasure to read. Time and again Bourke skewers a misinterpretation with an acute discrimination. . . . The range and depth of Bourke's research here, and his command of both the primary and secondary archives, is truly impressive. All future historians of ideas who intend to work on Burke will need to engage with the arguments of this book."--David Womersley, Standpoint

"Bourke'sEmpire and Revolutionis the finest of intellectual portraits . . . the definitive account of a life in ideas and politics."--Gavin Jacobson, Financial Times

"A truly outstanding achievement. . . . [Empire and Revolution] is the finest of all books on Edmund Burke."--Seamus Deane, Literary Review

"A monument of exact scholarship and careful reflection, by a long way the best book that we have on this profound and much misunderstood politician and philosopher."--Jonathan Sumption, Spectator

"A majestic study of a fascinating and gloriously ambiguous political thinker."--John Banville, Observer

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