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Worldly Philosopher:
The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman
Jeremy Adelman

Winner of the 2014 Joseph J. Spengler Best Book Prize, History of Economics Society
One of Bloomberg/Businessweek Best Books of 2013, selected by Ollie Rehn
One of Financial Times (Alphachat)'s Econ Books of the Year for 2013
One of The Guardian Best Books of 2013, chosen by Malcolm Gladwell
Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in Biography & Autobiography, Association of American Publishers

Paperback | 2014 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691163499
Hardcover | 2013 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691155678
760 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 39 halftones.
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2nd Annual PUP in Europe Lecture
Jeremy Adelman

Worldly Philosopher chronicles the times and writings of Albert O. Hirschman, one of the twentieth century's most original and provocative thinkers. In this gripping biography, Jeremy Adelman tells the story of a man shaped by modern horrors and hopes, a worldly intellectual who fought for and wrote in defense of the values of tolerance and change. This is the first major account of Hirschman’s remarkable life, and a tale of the twentieth century as seen through the story of an astute and passionate observer. Adelman’s riveting narrative traces how Hirschman’s personal experiences shaped his unique intellectual perspective, and how his enduring legacy is one of hope, open-mindedness, and practical idealism.

Jeremy Adelman is the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor of Spanish Civilization and Culture and director of the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University. His books include Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World and Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic (Princeton).


"[A] biography worthy of the man. Adelman brilliantly and beautifully brings Hirschman to life, giving us an unforgettable portrait of one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary intellectuals. . . . [M]agnificent."--Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker

"[A] hugely engaging . . . epic."--Justin Fox, New York Times Book Review

"[An] astonishing and moving biography. . . . Hirschman's work is more than interesting enough to justify a book (or two, or ten), but Adelman's achievement is to demonstrate, in novelistic detail, that he also lived an astounding life, full of narrow paths and ridiculously improbable twists and turns."--Cass Sunstein, New York Review of Books

"[A] massive, erudite biography."--Roger Lowenstein, Wall Street Journal

"[T]he winner [Enlightened Economist prize this year] is Jeremy Adelman's The Worldly Philosopher, a biography of Albert Hirschman. Hirschman's life story is extraordinary, and his early years make for a gripping tale. What I particularly enjoyed, though, was the portrait of an economist whose economics had a context in the realities of the countries Hirschman studied, their history and politics and culture, and in his wide reading in philosophy and other subjects. . . . A worthy winner--congratulations to Professor Adelman!"--Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist

"This is the book I have looked forward to most all year and so far it does not disappoint."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"Adelman's engrossing biography illustrates how Hirschman's global background, natural linguistic ability, education, and worldly experiences shaped his thoughts and enabled his thinking 'outside the box' to arrive at original and often provocative ideas. . . . Hirschman's story will appeal to many general readers, but especially to economists."--Library Journal

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Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction Mots Justes 1
1 The Garden 16
2 Berlin Is Burning 52
3 Proving Hamlet Wrong 85
4 The Hour of Courage 119
5 Crossings 153
6 Of Guns and Butter 187
7 The Last Battle 219
8 The Anthill 252
9 The Biography of a File 284
10 Colombia Years 295
11 Following My Truth 325
12 The Empirical Lantern 353
13 Sing the Epic 382
14 The God Who Helped 415
15 The Cold Monster 455
16 Man, the Stage 489
17 Body Parts 525
18 Disappointment 531
19 Social Science for Our Grandchildren 567
20 Reliving the Present 599
Conclusion Marc Chagall's Kiss 639
Afterword Sailing into the Wind 653
Notes 659
Bibliographic Essay 699
Index 709

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