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On Power Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund; Liberty Press Ed edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865971137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865971134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. Setliff on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
~On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth~ chronicles the growth of political power throughout the ages and explains how the powers welded by modern Parliaments and Presidents would be the envy of medieval kings. Bertrand de Jouvenel has a colorful past and was once snared by the etatism of his native France. After WWII, he produced this astute and trenchant analysis of political power and tracing its natural history and growth through the ages. Political power has reached a crescendo in the past century. Monarchs of yesteryears could only dream of the power welded by Presidents and Parliaments. Bertrand opens with a chapter entitled the Minotaur (who is analogous to the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler) and proceeds to document and trace the growth of state power through the ages. He addresses varying theories of sovereignty and the resulting practical effects of those theories in practice. He astutely captures the corrupting influence of Rousseau with amazing clarity and iconoclastically tackles that sacrosanct creature 'democracy' which Bertrand de Jouvenel rightly characterizes democracy as a child of war. He fittingly features a chapter entitled 'Totalitarian Democracy' as the book comes to a close. When the rule of law was held in high esteem, then efforts were made to check and prevent the concentration of power. Nonetheless, the dubious theories about the 'general will,' or similar theories purporting an infallible will of the people, seemed to take hold and gave way to legitimizing a succession of demagogues and dictators with unbridled power. The era of demagogues usually climaxes into an age of total war as these powers clash swords.Read more ›
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