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Enemies of Hope: A Critique of Contemporary Pessimism Paperback – October 15, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


" a high achiever with a range of expertise that would leave Jonathan Miller gasping' - Walter Ellis, The Sunday Times 'As its title and length indicate, this is a Big Book. It is written, nevertheless, in a clear, accessible, unpretentious and often witty style. And as anyone familiar with Raymond Tallis's other similar works will know, it has important things to say...there is about his panoptic sweep an intrepidity, a candour and open-mindedness, a gameness for anything, a total lack of vanity or self-importance, and a generous hatred of cant, that are extremely engaging. Every page of Enemies of Hope is lit by its author's characteristic wisdom and luminous intelligence, and by flashes of novel, striking insight. That alone is as much as to say, read it.' - Robert Grant, The Times Literary Supplement 'Brilliantly argued and with a wide range of erudition' - Nicholas Kochan, The Financial Times 'There may be other professors of geriatric medicine who have chosen to write down their views on life, the universe and everything...Raymond Tallis is unusual in that he is philosophically well educated and alert; his books are genuine contributions to professional debate and must be assessed as such.' - Stephen R.L. Clark, Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Raymond Tallis is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312224176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312224172
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,969,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Aristotle's Beast on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I can't tell you in this space how good this book is. It reviews all forms of counter-enlightenment zealotry individually: the postmodernists, the romantics, the zoologists of humanity, the cognitive machine theories of humanity, and so on. Tallis is a very sensitive man who has gone to a great deal of effort to understand the arguments of the opponents of rationalism and science. He has good credentials too, since he is an MD who has published an awful lot of articles in his field, gerontology. He is British, to boot, so he writes well and with wit. I know of no other complete review of the counter-enlightenment goofs under a single cover. In addition, Tallis is careful to extract the Scottish from the French enlightenment, where the French is the strand with the excessive moral zeal that wanted to perfect all nations into models of the French, which is the chief thorn making the counter-enlightenment crowd angry. If you take the social activism element out of the enlightenment, you are left with only the scientific element, and the charge that the enlightenment was an attempt at cultural hegemony is ludicrous. The final chapter is a defense of the enlightenment that is careful, strenuous and clear eyed. This book is excellent reading, and a very nice contribution to the central debate of our times.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark on April 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enemies of Hope is an engaging, energetic critique of the postmodernist worldview. Tallis shows there are important grains of truth in postmodernism, but the conclusions postmodernist thinkers draw from these truths are wildly exaggerated. Tallis clarified many issued for me. He ends the book with a convincing presentation of how enlightenment ideals should be recast to take into account the valid concerns of postmodernism. An outstanding work.
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