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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to Hobbes written with clarity and grace
When I read British philosophy as an undergraduate, I skimmed over Hobbes and focused primarily on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. It was not until recently that I realized the importance of Hobbes's political thought. Therefore, I decided to read Hobbes's "Leviathan." Having previously discovered the outstanding little books in the "Past Masters" series...
Published on April 6, 2000 by Richard L. King

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate but less than lucid
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an extremely important English philosopher, best known for his political philosophy, especially as found in the work "Leviathan".

Richard Tuck's overview of Hobbes does an adequate job of summarizing the views of this important philosopher; however, the book at times feels a little bit too detail-oriented, often at the expense of...
Published on January 23, 2006 by C. MOZEE-BAUM


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to Hobbes written with clarity and grace, April 6, 2000
This review is from: Hobbes (Past Masters) (Paperback)
When I read British philosophy as an undergraduate, I skimmed over Hobbes and focused primarily on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. It was not until recently that I realized the importance of Hobbes's political thought. Therefore, I decided to read Hobbes's "Leviathan." Having previously discovered the outstanding little books in the "Past Masters" series published by the Oxford University Press, I first looked to see if the series included a title on Hobbes, and I found Tuck's book, which I read before reading "Leviathan." Tuck's "Hobbes" provided me with a good foundation for reading "Leviathan," and Tuck greatly increased my appreciation for Hobbes. Tuck is particularly careful to describe not only Hobbes's political philosophy; he also provides an introduction to Hobbes's thought regarding religion, science, ethics, and philosophical method. By gaining an overall picture of Hobbes's thought, I came to appreciate Tuck's claim that "Hobbes created English-language philosophy." I recommend this book to anyone approaching Hobbes for the first time.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate but less than lucid, January 23, 2006
By 
C. MOZEE-BAUM (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an extremely important English philosopher, best known for his political philosophy, especially as found in the work "Leviathan".

Richard Tuck's overview of Hobbes does an adequate job of summarizing the views of this important philosopher; however, the book at times feels a little bit too detail-oriented, often at the expense of forming a more clear picture of Hobbes's philosophy as a whole. One particularly confusing discussion involves Hobbes's ideas about the difference between a "natural right" and a "natural law".

The three main sections of the book focus on Hobbes's life, Hobbes's work, and later interpretations of Hobbes. Perhaps this last section is the most fascinating; we find, for example, Hobbes political theory in modern times being analyzed within the idiom of "game theory".

Tuck is clearly an expert and knows what he's talking about, but his book might be pitched just a bit over the head of a true beginner to the study of Hobbes or philosophy in general.

All in all this is a decent work - but it occasionally becomes over-academic at the expense of clarity... and in a work of this sort, clarity is a priceless asset.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An authoritative introduction to the first great English political philosopher, August 12, 2007
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Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
The author starts by telling us "Hobbes created English-language philosophy". Really? What of Francis Bacon, to whom Hobbes once acted as amanuensis? Poor Bacon does get a brief, grudging mention later on. The description in the blurb of Hobbes as "the first great English political philosopher" is probably more accurate. Certainly he is important, in a broad Western context. He was central to the transition from medieval to modern thought, and was a strong influence on Rousseau and others. Tuck is an expert guide (despite his inexplicable slighting of Bacon) and his style is very readable. This introduction covers Hobbes's life, works and intellectual legacy. Reliable and informative, it is highly recommended as an introduction to, and summary of, Hobbes's ideas, but to better appreciate the context, you might want to read (dare I say it?) Bacon's Essays first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is why I love the VSI series, July 3, 2009
By 
greg taylor (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
At their best, the VSI series is arguably the greatest series of introductory volumes on different thinkers and subjects currently being published. Part of it is that many of the volumes are republications of volumes in earlier series by Oxford, the Past Masters and Present Masters series.
Tuck's volume on Hobbes is one of those republications. One can easily see why the VSI series editors felt no need to seek out a new publication on Hobbes. Tuck's book is outstanding in content and organization. That organization is very simple. A chapter on Hobbes life and his relationship with his contemporaries and with some earlier thinkers highlights Hobbes relationship to Montaigne, Machiavelli, Descartes and Grotius.
The second chapter on Hobbes' theories is a masterpiece of compression. In 55 well-written pages, Tuck ties together the whole of Hobbes' writings into a coherent argument.
The third chapter is a history of reaction to Hobbes by other thinkers. I like this chapter unlike one of the reviewers below. Tuck guides us through the reaction of Hume, Kant, the Utilitarians, Toennis, Leo Strauss, C.B. Macpherson, Cassirer, Oakeshott, Quentin Skinner and some lesser lights.
As always with the VSI series there is a guide to further reading, a good index, their outstanding format and reasonable price. There may be better books on Hobbes. One of the reviewers below mentions a book by Johann Sommerville. Unfortunately it sells on Amazon for over $50. So my recommendation is read Tuck, read Leviathan and then seek out Sommerville in a library. That's my plan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but neither for a beginner nor a serious student of Hobbes, June 21, 2014
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This book has some merits, but only for those who already know a little about Hobbes. It is neither for a person who has not already read a little about Hobbes, nor for a serious student of Hobbes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Overview, September 23, 2012
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This is a short, concise, and well written overview of Hobbes and his major works. The author also includes a brief discussion of how Hobbes works may have (possibly) been tinged by the English Civil War. I read the kindle version in about three hours, and I feel I definately understand Hobes (the man) better after reading this brief study.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. You won't regret it., August 22, 2014
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This review is from: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
This entire series of 'Very Short Introductions' is a small miracle in itself. Each volume clearly and succinctly written, understandable, entertaining, covers in jewel-colored patterns: would that I could collect the whole lot of them! I think you cannot be disappointed by any one of the books offered in this expanding project.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good very short introduction, December 14, 2004
This review is from: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
I was able to read this entire little book in much less than a day. Especially interesting was the first section, "Hobbes' Life", which described the relationships between philosophers of that time, both between each other and society. The section on Hobbes' philosophy was also well done, and very informitive. The section on interpretations of Hobbes' didn't seem to have a point. It covered the fine distinctions modern scholars are making, which is well outside the scope of a book introducing someone to Hobbes. As this section can simply be skipped it didn't take away from the book, despite it's questionable value.
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Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction
Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Tuck (Paperback - August 29, 2002)
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