Isaiah Berlin: A Life

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9780099577317: Isaiah Berlin: A Life

Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx, pioneering scholar of the Romantic movement and defender of the liberal idea of freedom. His own life was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century. The son of a Riga timber merchant, he witnessed the Russian Revolution, was plunged into suburban school life and the ferment of 1930s Oxford; he became part of the British intellectual establishment During the war, he as at the heart of Anglo-American diplomacy in Washington; afterwards in Moscow he saw the grim despair of Stalinism. The book is full of memorable meetings - with Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud, with Churchill, with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Yet Ignatieff is not afraid to delve into Berlin's conflicts: his jewish idealism, his deep aspirations. This is a work of great subtelty and penetration, exhilarating and intimate, powerful and profound.

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Review:

Isaiah Berlin was one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century, and one of its fastest talkers. Born in the Latvian port of Riga in 1909, his family survived the Russian Revolution, but its chilly aftermath forced his Anglophile father to resettle them in Surbiton in 1921. Isaiah assimilated quickly, becoming in his mind equal parts Russian, English and Jewish, and subsequently he became the first Jew to be elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He was to spend most of his life studying and lecturing at Oxford, developing his concept of "negative liberty"; but although he longed to know one big thing, to be a "hedgehog" in his own famous definition, instead he felt more naturally a "fox", knowing many smaller things. This Reynard instinct, however, made him wonderful company, and he became that rarity: a British public intellectual, who made learning attractive. Michael Ignatieff has written a book that stands somewhere between a biography and a ghost-written autobiography, relying mostly on Berlin's own recollections gathered from conversations between them over a 10-year period. Berlin had his detractors, including himself ("superficial"), and a more critical evaluation of his contribution to philosophy will be written, but Ignatieff captures the human side of this wise and cosmopolitan man, whose deceptive "lightness of being" concealed a soul that stared at the horrors of his century. -- David Vincent

Review:

"A work of literature and an eloquent portrait...an explanation of this most remarkable twentieth-century figure...Though Berlin will be the subject of many future studies, one cannot imagine anyone feeling the need to improve on this biography" ( Observer)

"Enthralling...More than an authorised biography...An affectionate and admiring, but none the less independently-minded portrait...A serious book, but also a vivid, lively and uplifting one" ( Evening Standard)

"Reading Ignatieff's Isaiah Berlin, you feel you are understanding not only Isaiah Berlin, but the history...I do not see how there could be a more insightful, more erudite, biography of this remarkable man" (Doris Lessing Times Literary Supplement)

"A rare gem of a book...It will add a new dimension to the afterlife of the philosopher" ( Sunday Times)

"Brings off the near-impossible - a lifelike portrait of a man who was loved by his friends not for what he wrote, but what he said" (Humphrey Carpenter Sunday Times Books of the Year)

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx, pioneering scholar of the Romantic movement and defender of the liberal idea of freedom. His own life was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century. The son of a Riga timber merchant, he witnessed the Russian Revolution, was plunged into suburban school life and the ferment of 1930s Oxford; he became part of the British intellectual establishment During the war, he as at the heart of Anglo-American diplomacy in Washington; afterwards in Moscow he saw the grim despair of Stalinism. The book is full of memorable meetings - with Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud, with Churchill, with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Yet Ignatieff is not afraid to delve into Berlin s conflicts: his jewish idealism, his deep aspirations. This is a work of great subtelty and penetration, exhilarating and intimate, powerful and profound. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099577317

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx, pioneering scholar of the Romantic movement and defender of the liberal idea of freedom. His own life was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century. The son of a Riga timber merchant, he witnessed the Russian Revolution, was plunged into suburban school life and the ferment of 1930s Oxford; he became part of the British intellectual establishment During the war, he as at the heart of Anglo-American diplomacy in Washington; afterwards in Moscow he saw the grim despair of Stalinism. The book is full of memorable meetings - with Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud, with Churchill, with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Yet Ignatieff is not afraid to delve into Berlin s conflicts: his jewish idealism, his deep aspirations. This is a work of great subtelty and penetration, exhilarating and intimate, powerful and profound. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099577317

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Book Description Vintage 2000-01-06, 2000. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-GRD-00407173

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Isaiah Berlin: A Life, Michael Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx, pioneering scholar of the Romantic movement and defender of the liberal idea of freedom. His own life was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century. The son of a Riga timber merchant, he witnessed the Russian Revolution, was plunged into suburban school life and the ferment of 1930s Oxford; he became part of the British intellectual establishment During the war, he as at the heart of Anglo-American diplomacy in Washington; afterwards in Moscow he saw the grim despair of Stalinism. The book is full of memorable meetings - with Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud, with Churchill, with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Yet Ignatieff is not afraid to delve into Berlin's conflicts: his jewish idealism, his deep aspirations. This is a work of great subtelty and penetration, exhilarating and intimate, powerful and profound. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099577317

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Book Description 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 22mm. Paperback. Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 384 pages. 0.271. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099577317

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Book Description Vintage, 2000. Book Condition: New. The result of ten years of interviews between Berlin and Ignatieff, this is the biography of one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers. Berlin (born in Russia in 1909) was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century, and the book is full of memorable encounters. Num Pages: 384 pages, facsimiles, portraits. BIC Classification: 1DBK; 1DVUA; 1KBB; BGH; HPCF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 131 x 24. Weight in Grams: 280. . 2000. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099577317

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. The result of ten years of interviews between Berlin and Ignatieff, this is the biography of one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers. Berlin (born in Russia in 1909) was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century, and the book is full of memorable encounters. Num Pages: 384 pages, facsimiles, portraits. BIC Classification: 1DBK; 1DVUA; 1KBB; BGH; HPCF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 131 x 24. Weight in Grams: 280. . 2000. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099577317

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography, but he agreed to talk about himself - and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him. Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Ma. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099577317_rkm

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