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In this ambitious book, Antony Black provides a short and global explanation of ancient political thought. He should be considered one of the greatest and most consistent specialists in medieval political thought, but in this book he shows an impressive comprehension of the sources of ancient cultures ... can be highly recommended. Rafael Ramis Barcelo, Political Studies Review admirably ambitious ... This is not a merely encyclopaedic account of ancient thought but a genuinely comparative analysis, with the constant attention to the divergences from basic similarities that creates the exciting sense of a single argument. Richard Seaford, History of Political Thought
About the Author
Antony Black is Professor Emeritus in the History of Political Thought, School of Humanities, University of Dundee.
The synopsis of the book provided by the "Product Description" is fairly accurate. Therefore, I will only point out that (a) books on comparative history of ideas seem to be rather scarce; (b) many books entitled "History of ...whatever" only provide information about the West, the rest of the world being almost ignored, but Black's book is different, is truly global.
So when I found this book I decide it to give it a chance, in despite of not finding previous comments on it. I was surprised that no one else had made a comment before to this masterful work, which, in my opinion, is impartial and enlightening. Perhaps, because of the author's style, the book is no very engaging, but it is not dry either. In any event I think that the professional historian and the educated layperson alike can savour it. So I add my review, my rate being between 5 (content) and 3 (pleasure, sometimes falling to 2, sometimes raising to 4). I highly recommend it.
The book is short, less than 240 pages (plus bibliography), and is divided in the following way: Introduction / 1. Early Communities and States / 2. Egypt / 3. Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babilón / 4. Iran / 5. Israel / 6. India / 7. China / 8. The Greeks / 9. Rome / 10. Greco-Roman Humanism / 11. The Kingdom of heaven and the church of Christ / 12. Themes: similarities and differences between cultures / 13. Conclusion.Read more ›
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A readable, erudite and useful book. It is well organized and wide ranging, but focused on its subject. Three things stand out especially in this author's analysis. First, the power of mere ideas to shape societies and how people think. Secondly, a tendency of the powerful in many places to make the right to worship the god their sole preserve. And thirdly, the inexorable connexion between politics and religion. The bibliography is comprehensive and not confined to political theorists. Gombrich, for instance, is a source. I recommend this book highly, despite the steep price.
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