Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 27, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
“Intelligent and often brave . . . Audacious . . . Important . . . Whatever you label Wolfe’s argument in Political Evil, it is timely, valuable and refreshingly adult.”
-Jonathan Rauch, The New York Times Book Review
“In Political Evil, Alan Wolfe issues a compelling summons to moral and intellectual seriousness and conducts a multi-pronged and . . . soberly argued inquiry into the contemporary forms of political evil and the proper means for combating them.”
-Peter Berkowitz, The Wall Street Journal
“[Wolfe’s] sentiments . . . seem both admirable and true.”
-Michael Ignatieff, Slate
“Ambitious and important.”
-Charles R. Morris, Commonweal
“This book has many virtues. Wolfe has done us a service in reminding us that human beings should be sensitive to their own fallibility, and to the dangers of a hubristic mustering of overwhelming force . . . Political Evil represents the reflections of an intelligent, humane and learned scholar who has many important things to say to policy makers in a world that is dangerous and sadly in need of tempering voices.”
-Robert Swan, Washington Independent Review of Books
“A revelatory work: full of terrific analysis, and, a word I hesitate to use, wisdom. So many illuminations about so many murky matters. Really wonderful.”
-C.K. Williams, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
“In this impassioned and thought-provoking journey through the varied landscape of political evil, Alan Wolfe draws subtle and often heartbreaking distinctions examining what can—and cannot—be done to combat the most vile organized horrors that human beings have always inflicted upon one another. This is a necessary but disturbing book, because it is all about the heart of darkness that is so much more comfortable to ignore—and our own limitations even when we try to do the right thing.”
-Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason
“In the face of mass violence, terrorism, and genocide around the globe, democratic citizens risk inaction and also excessive reaction. Are there alternatives to letting evil continue and producing more violence and inevitable victimization of innocents? Alan Wolfe's clear-eyed analysis offers vital tools to advance effective responses. He calls for joining unblinking condemnation of large-scale horrors with precise attention to their particular roots. His warnings against sweeping generalizations and faulty analogies to the past are grounded in detailed studies of mass violence in Darfur, the US ‘war against terror,’ and other current events. For serious alternatives to overreaction and inaction in the face of political evil, read Alan Wolfe.”
-Martha Minow, author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness
“Despite the persistence of evil, Wolfe is hopeful that we can stop evil acts, and despite his clear appeal to reason, his arguments are quite passionate.”
“A balanced inquiry into the violent world confronting America today.”
About the Author
Alan Wolfe teaches political science at Boston College, where he is the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life. A contributing editor of The New Republic whose work appears frequently in leading magazines and newspapers, he is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including The Future of Liberalism. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The most important concept outlined is a view of the nature of evil, especially the Manichaen view which is negative and unsolvable, and how it can affect political response.
History is a very important study, because it teaches us, or should, the errors of our past. Unfortunately too often it is the wrong lessons we learn, many of which are elaborated on in this book.
At this time in our history almost half if not more of our population doesn't know the structure of our Republic, much less who our Allies were in the second World War, but rally around phrases like 'Munich' and 'Appeasement', ' World wide War on Terror', 'American Exceptionalism', 'Evil Empire', and the easiest most simplistic jingoism of the neoCons.
To create a society that doesn't support meaningless aggression, commit our children to unwinnable war's, and fail to see the horrors committed against helpless civilians throughout the world we have to acknowledge our shadow side, be able to reject over simplistic solutions, beliefs that a group is irredeemably evil and must be eradicated, and find a balance in our Foreign Policies. This treatise goes a long step in moving the reader in that direction.
Our first step could begin at home: teaching our children to recognize propaganda, media manipulation, respect for others, moral courage to speak truth to power, to recognize that they have a shadow side which can be controlled and its energy brought toward a creative use.
It is unlikely that we can get to a place where we can make use of the information provided in this text, when over 40% of our population is caught up in beliefs that our President is an anti-Christian Socialist Fascist born in a pro Muslim foreign land and half the world is Islamic-Fascists bent on the destruction of our way of life, and must be hunted down until they are eliminated. I think we have a good chance of falling back into a counter-evil culture given our current politics, which appears to be a politics of fear