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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College. A lifelong member of Parliament, Burke was the author of A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, A Vindication of Natural Society, and Reflections on the Revolution in France.
Isaac Kramnick was born in 1938 and educated at Harvard University, where he received a B.A. degree in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1965, and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, Yale and Cornell, where he is now Professor of Government. He is married to Miriam Brody Kramnick and lives in Ithaca, New York. Among his publications are Bolingbroke and His Circle, The Rage of Edmund Burke and numerous articles on eighteenth century topics. He has edited William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay and, with Michael Foot, The Thomas Paine Reader for the Penguin Classics. Most recently he is the author, with Barry Sheerman, MP, of Laski: A Lift on the Left.
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Product Details

  • Series: Portable Library
  • Paperback: 573 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Portable Library edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140267603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140267600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Martin H. Ambuhl on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Portable Edmund Burke" is useful in supplying a number of pieces not otherwise easily obtainable. It, like most books in the Viking Portable Library series, is missing the notes and especially the index that many people would have found useful. To make room for the 47 selections, several have been severely abridged. "Reflections on the Revolution is France" is whittled to leave only about 30% of it. Anyone needing this should look to a full-length treatment. Good ones include the Yale edition of Frank M. Turner, which has an excellent index, occasional notes, and several first-class essas; and Oxford World's Classic edition of L.G. Mitchell, which also has a helpful index and good notes. The speech on conciliation with America is similar chopped to a mere shadow of itself. The Lamont edition is not easily obtainable, which is a pity, but the notes and index of the Cambridge edition of Ian Harris will do well enough for most students. 'A Vindication of Natural Society' survives better (about half of it survives in this edition), but again the Harris edition is a better choice.

If you want a wide picture of Burke's writing, this text is probably for you. If you want to read any of his important texts, then choose something else.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Edmund More on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Burke's most important work "Reflections on the Revolution in France" is reduced from nearly 200 pages to 60 pages in this volume. Yet nowhere in the book does the editor describe what he selected or what he dropped, or the basis for his decisions.

Comparing my copy of "Reflections.." to this chopped version I found that Kramnick had dropped passages that were highly insightful.

When I discovered this, I could no longer be confident that the other works were not similarly mangled. I will now search for an anthology of works that is more respectful of the originals (or at least one where the editor is more open about his approach).
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jared J. Nelson on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Presenting Edmund Burke thematically is perhaps the only way to really approach Burke, as Conor Cruise O'Brien or Russell Kirk (Burke's best biographers) would probably agree. So unlike `On Empire, Liberty, and Reform,' which is chronological, the portable Edmund Burke instead tackles Burke under the themes of America, Ireland, India, and the French Revolution, and a couple other sub-themes, with invaluable commentary. By the end of the book, Burke is better enveloped here than in most biographies, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Lowry on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
I think the 2-star reviewers are missing the point; the "Reflections" are widely available, whereas much of the best of Burke is found in shorter texts that are harder to find. One would expect the editors to favor those texts instead of providing yet another full text of a book that any Burke reader should already have.

(That said, one also suspects that Penguin wants to keep selling its edition of the full "Reflections" ....)

Whatever its faults, there's really no alternative to this volume for the common reader.
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