- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Revised edition (June 5, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465002056
- ISBN-13: 978-0465002054
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 164 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles Revised Edition
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Top customer reviews
The book is scrupulously objective in its goals. The book is analytic and descriptive, not polemical. Sowell goes out of his way to avoid choosing sides or offering compelling evidence for the inconsistency or absurdity of either of the visions. He is not recruiting readers to one side or the other. He is constructing two complex mirrors in which his readers can attempt to see themselves and the degree to which their individual views are part of a large, centuries-old pattern.
My own sense is that he's got this right and he's used the best examples, though I might have added a touch more Rousseau to the mix. The objective analysis, however, comes with a price. In resisting the impulse to take sides and adduce evidence justifying the taking of sides he has written a book which is more theoretical/historical than historical/theoretical. In short, the want of copious examples is often felt. Also, the fact that Sowell is such an effective polemicist (when he is writing in that mode) makes one regret that he is here purposely confining and restraining himself. Nevertheless, the book is excellent and does exactly what it sets out to do--fairly, clearly and persuasively.
For those with an interest in human nature (or its alleged nonexistence), one can also highly recommend Pinker's The Blank Slate, a nice companion volume to Sowell's and one that is less constrained in its arguments.
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He would probably cringe at my assertion, as in this and other books he...Read more