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Jesse Norman

Autor(a) de Edmund Burke: The First Conservative

11+ Works 319 Membros 6 Críticas

About the Author

Jesse Norman is the Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire. A graduate of Oxford University, he holds an MPhil and PhD from University College London, where he was an Honorary Fellow. He is the author of many books and pamphlets, and blogs at www.jessenorman.com. He was awarded mostrar mais Parliamentation and Backbencher of the Year 2012, and lives in Hereford and London. mostrar menos
Image credit: source: Policy Exchange

Obras por Jesse Norman

Associated Works

Reflections on the French Revolution; & Other Essays. (1916) — Introdução, algumas edições87 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento



A remarkable book – or rather two books – about a remarkable man. In the first half of this work, Jesse Norman provides an engaging account of Burke's life and character; in the second he examines Burke's philosophy and its continued relevance. Edmund Burke, particularly the lucid second half, is a welcome volume that deserves to be read for decades to come. Highly recommended.
Lirmac | 2 outras críticas | Nov 6, 2020 |
Pretty short and readable biography of Burke. The first half is biographical while the second is more concerned with his thoughts. In regards to the first Burke lead a pretty good life, refusing to profit off of his office, and working for good causes. He plead for more gracious treatment of Americans before the revolution, he tried to impeach Hastings, who headed the East Indian Company, for the treatment of Indians, and worked to emancipate catholics in Britain. He made major contributions to the concept of political parties, promoting them as stable institutions and repositories of wisdom that would not dissolve on political defeat but maintain an ideology. He did not seen them as factions but as training grounds for politicians, removing the total dependence of the state on the internal virtues of individual statesmen and core to the deliberative nature of politics. Burke also developed the "trustee" conception of a statesman, in a remarkable speech that he would not sacrifice his judgement for popularity with his constituents (eventually losing his seat when he promoted free trade policies in tension with his port city voters). In many ways Burke's life was rather tragic, he spent most of his political life in opposition, he was constantly accused of being a crypto-catholic, he had to bury his son just as his son was elected to office (apparently Burke considered suicide), and was deeply in debt for most of life (he considered fleeing to America to avoid debtors near the end of his life).

Of course, the book discusses Burke's most famous ideas in relation to the French Revolution. Burke was supportive of individual rights, but was against what he saw was abstracting those rights without regard to the historical development of those rights. Burke supported the American revolution as a recovery of traditional rights, while he disparaged the French revolution for razing their institutions and practices for abstract rights. Burke was famous for predicting the reign of terror, and rise of Napoleon in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke was "anti-liberal" to the extent that he thought excessive focus on individuals as the unit of rights would be destructive. To him, it was nonsense to build society starting from individuals in a state of nature, individuals are inherently sociable creatures. The society shapes and constitutes individuals, and are not just vehicles for individuals seeking their goals. Burke was anti-rational to the extent that he believed that much of politics could never be reduced to a consistent science, but it would be safer to instead rely on the accumulated wisdom of the ages through a country's history and institutions.

The book drags at certain points, and I am not very interested in UK politics, but overall a good introduction to Burke. Has definitely made me want to read Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and does a good job summarizing a complex figure.
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vhl219 | 2 outras críticas | Jun 1, 2019 |
Half the book is short biography of Adam Smith and the other half is an analysis of the second part of "what he thought and why it matters" as forecast in the subtitle.
Smith lived a "quiet" life, and ensured his papers and correspondence were all destroyed at his death - making him a difficult subject for biographers. But Norman manages to produce an interesting account of his life and career.
Less satisfying was the analysis part of the book. For me it fell at two hurdles. Firstly the discussion of Smith's thoughts and economics required more detailed understanding of current economic thought than I, as an interested reader, was able to bring to the party. Secondly, the attempt to apply "Smithian" thought (a favourite adjective of the author) to every current economic issue became increasingly strained as I read.
So, good bio, but no cigar from me.
… (mais)
mbmackay | May 27, 2019 |
A good look at the life and philosophy of the 18th-century politician Edmund Burke. I really appreciated the first half of the work, detailing Burke's life and major political endeavors. In the last half, primarily about Burke's thought and writings, I felt like I could really see the author's day job as a conservative MP coming through. I did like how Burke was tied to other Enlightenment figures, such as Rousseau, and the focus on how Burke is relevant today, but sometimes these pieces felt a little forced and overreaching. Overall, a good overview of a subject I hope to read more about.… (mais)
wagner.sarah35 | 2 outras críticas | Jan 19, 2019 |


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