From Publishers Weekly
Modern conservatives have claimed fiery orator-politician Edmund Burke as one of their founding fathers, yet for a long time the political philosopher was also seen as an architect of liberalism. His attacks on patronage and corruption, his devotion to civil and religious liberties, his campaign for clean British rule in India, and his warning that revolution is for export all seem timely. So too does his angry grief over his native Ireland tearing itself apart, even his fear of the lurking collapse of civilization. Burke was one of the great prose stylists writing in English. A man of hasty temper, frequent indebtedness and crusading zeal, he was tirelessly engaged in the great issues and ephemeral controversies of his day. In this evenhanded portraitthe first full-scale life of Burke in half a centuryAlying ( George III ) avoids taking sides. Interweaving letters from Burke's recently published 10-volume correspondence, this biography lets us go beyond Burke the elitist, the intolerant foe of atheists and scorner of democracy to reassess his many positions in the context of his, and our, time. Photos.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
While Burke is widely, and rightly, hailed as the father of modern conservative thought, he has in some sense been curiously neglected by biographers. Indeed, there has been no full-scale life of Burke in better than half a century. Ayling, who has firmly established his place as a leading biographer of 18th-century figures with his lives of George the Third (1972), The Elder Pitt (1976), and John Wesley (1979), now rectifies this situation in splendid fashion. Delving deeply into extant manuscript sources, most notably Burke's own papers, he gives us a credible, balanced, and very readable portrait of the man. This is biography at its best, and every student of the 18th century will want to read it.- James A. Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.