Winter Driving Best Books of the Month Valentine's Day Shop Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Chi-Raq easycohice_2016 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Valentine's Day Cards Amazon Gift Card Offer chiraq chiraq chiraq  Amazon Echo All-New Fire Kindle Paperwhite Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games Shop Now SnS

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on September 11, 1998
I like this book because it is very interesting and informative. I began reading it for pleasure, but by the time I was half way finished, I was sure of its serious nature and had decided to adopt it as a required reading in the seminar that I teach on the economic impact of globalization. The author succeeds in presenting the right mix of theory and history with sufficient analysis. It is well researched and very well organized. It should prove as interesting to the general reader as it is informative for the academics. However, its treatment of classical economists is far superior to the section dealing with contemporary writeres on free trade. Hopefully, in the second edition the author will remedy this shortcomeing.
0Comment10 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 12, 1998
"Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas" has long been out of print and is hard to find in the used market. I wish some publisher would reprint it--I'm sure it would sell well. It was my introduction to this wonderful, careful, rational thinker and his ideas on pluralism, among many other topics. I'm not smart enough to summarize his thought for public consumption; you must read him for yourself. If you are a warm, loving, human being who is interested in how we got to our present intellectual condition, after reading him you will be a convert. Libraries often have "Against the Current," but you can also find great riches in his other books, some of which Amazon.com will be happy to send to you. Put his name in Keyword Search and check out the numerous titles they carry. (No, I'm not a salesman, just a fan.) I can recommend "Crooked Timber of Humanity" as a good start. For a (still) fresh reading of the life of Karl Marx read Berlin's biography of him. Enrich your life; READ ISAIAH BERLIN!!!
0Comment19 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
HALL OF FAMEon January 17, 2005
Itis simply a great pleasure to read Isaiah Berlin. His richness in thought, his verbal fluency his strong sense of values and clear understanding of the historical context in which he is presenting the ideas- all this combines to make reading him an adventure of the mind. In this work the third group of his essays put together by his faithful student and friend Henry Hardy the theme is those thinkers who go against the current, who walk their own way, hear their own drummer. Macchiavelli, Vico,Hume,Montesquieu, Herzen, Disraeli,Moses Hess, Verdi, and Marx, Sorel are all interpreted here . There is an essay on' The Counter- Enlightentment, one on The Divorce between the Sciences and the Humanities, one on ' Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power. The introduction to the volume is written by Roger Hausher.

As with all the writings of Berlin one will learn a great deal by reading this work- and have great pleasure in doing so.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 4, 2002
Sir Isaiah Berlin was the greatest exponent of Liberal Pluralism
in the 20th Century. "Against The Current" is probably his best collection of essays. The essays on Verdi and George Sorel are worth the price of the book alone. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will not regret it.
0Comment10 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 29, 1997
One of the great, and certainly at least in some quarters most influential, books of historical/ philosophical/ social thinking of the century. An argument for liberal pluralism, not as an abstract theory, but as a pragmatic necessity in the absence of the possibility of theoretical justification. Berlin almost obsessively (except that obsessive is the last word you could imagine applying to Isaiah Berlin) reiterates implicitly, in a collection of, originally independently published, essays on European intellectual history, his ironically simple thesis that the world is complex and contradictory, and not reducible to the terms of simple moral, social or policial ideas. Further, his prose, which - like his thinking - is in the tradition of Hume and Diderot, makes him an unalloyed pleasure to read.
0Comment9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 17, 2012
I did not read the entire book, so I cannot generalize, but I have no doubt that Berlin provides very important information on the topics he investigated during his long scholarly life. However, I would recommend caution regarding some of his interpretations regarding the Storm and Stress movement. I have been reading extensively on the matter and I find the thesis about the so-called Counter-Enlightenment not persuasive.

Since Berlin's opening essay is largely responsible for diffusing the term Counter-Enlightenment, his is an essay that I have read and reread several times. Berlin's assertion of Herder as the faithful disciple of Georg Hamman is misleading. I am basing my point on Robert T. Clark's monumental biography of Herder published by the University of California Press in 1955. I do consider that up to this day Clark is the most reliable source on Herder and the Sturm und Drang movement. Norbert Elias's opening chapter of The Civilizing Process also provides additional information regarding the idea that the so-called German Counter-Enlightenment was a direct reaction against the French Enlightenment, which is Mr. Berlin's thesis. I still have some additional objections to the essay on the Counter-Enlightenment, but the ones I have mentioned are sufficient for stating my reservation regarding Mr. Berlin's interpretation of the historical meaning of the Storm and Stress movement.
11 comment5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 16, 2003
Fantastic analysis of international free trade and the coming of age of economic globalization. Irwin is a diamond in the rough when it comes to economic author. He writes in such a way that is fairly easy to understand, all the while not comprimising the quality of the material. Granted, any previous knowledge of Economics is obviously beneficial to the reader, but in no way an absolute must.
Second, Mr. Preston Enright above seems to oppose corporate subsidies and welfare. Well, Mr Enright, so do the most staunch defenders of free-trade and capitalism: libertarians. I would not so much call myself a Libertarian but, like yourself, am also ardently opposed to corporate welfare, as it places an unwarranted burden on taxpayers and forces them to involuntarily support a cause, whereas they should only support the firm with their purchases from that corporation. Corporate welfare is, indeed, a rotten policy enacted but liberals and conservatives alike that, just as other forms of subsidies and welfare, create an unhealthy and unwarranted dependency on Washington (or wherever the largesse may originate), artificially lower prices, discourages innovation and efficiency, and ultimately harms the taxpayer and the consumer. Preston Enright is correct that this type of 'free trade' (not free to the mass of those who should benefit: the consumer) is only beneficial to the management and executives. Although, I'm guessing by his scattered and fiery writing style that he would be opposed to the free market, welfare or no welfare.
0Comment10 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 25, 2006
If you think the present world is full of contradictions, of opposing philosophies, and that it might be doomed, please give a chance at this set of essais by Isaiah Berlin. Not only his writing is clear and flowing, but his argumentation is very enlightening. Isaiah Berlin will never be controversial. He will never take a strong position. He will let you decide. Like an archeologist, he put back to life the ideas who were considered crazy at their time, and now looked much more reasonable. Even the introduction by Roger Hausheer gives you a lecherous taste of what is inside. And I was not disappointed. Thinking that there are ten more books on essays by Berlin, my head is spining. Did he not say already everything in this one...?
0Comment5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 13, 2001
Economics is one of those subjects on which everyone has an opinion but few have much knowledge. Free trade, in particular, suffers from this opinion/knowledge gap. Reviewer Enright provides a good demonstration of this affliction. Had he taken the time to read the entire book, rather than just skimming the last few pages looking for some commentary on the politicization of free trade, Enright might have learned something about the benefits of free trade.
Irwin's text provides an excellent overview of how economic thinking has over the years come to accept and promote free trade. Unfortunately, today's free trade debate is typically not framed by such informed discussion, but rather is shaped by the protectionist rantings of critics like Enright.
0Comment8 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 4, 2002
Sir Isaiah Berlin was the greatest exponent of Liberal Pluralism
in the 20th Century. "Against The Current" is probably his best collection of essays. The essays on Verdi and George Sorel are worth the price of the book alone. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will not regret it.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse