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Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (English Edition) 2nd Edition, Kindle-editie
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Many, many aspects of Berlin's life and ideas are covered. The first conversation is devoted to Berlin's background and is quite interesting. In addition to biographical details, he discusses some of writing and ideas. The second conversation ("The Birth of Modern Politics") is much more substantive, with Berlin touching upon Machiavelli, Hobbes, his theories of monism and the contributions of the "counter-enlightenment," his antipathy to Hannah Arendt, and his high opinion of Herder. Additional substantive points are addressed in the third conversation, including, Hume, German thought, some musical topics, Zionism, socialism and Marxism. Freedom is the keynote of the fourth conversation, including pluralism and Oxford philosophy. The final conversation, "Personal Impressions," demonstrates not only the incredible range of Berlin's personal contacts (everyone from Churchill to Weizman and Nehru), but also his intimate familiarity with key personages in the development of European political thought.
In any book with this format, some topics get too much attention and others too little--but the overall balance is good. Also included are a helpful preface and introduction, which set the stage, and a good index. The best thing I found in reading the conversations is that Berlin is unusually relaxed and focused (perhaps he had the questions beforehand). Berlin's comments on the "lonely" study in Britain of what we call intellectual history over here, are particularly interesting. By the end, the reader has touched upon many interesting and important topics with Sir Isaiah, which is quite an experience.
It's not really the case, but I. Berlin as crossed a terrible century, being born in a Northern country ( and afterwards "no country", and "country again", now a member of EU...)! Flying ( almost every time, to escape human stupidity and, of course, by no "good" reasons..)he managed to build a 2 World View" that is a lesson for all of us, teaching a "pen mind" to thousands od admirers and students, in the most important field of Literature and Philosophy, always with no "arrogance", but a gentle man that is a symbol of the "best" things the XXth century as offer to posterity!