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Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 86 reviews
on January 25, 2015
Edmund Burke, politician, philosopher and historian, know as the father of conservatism. When the revolution in France broke out with the death of the King and the revolution being led by sidelined liberal radicals, Burke was horrified. In his reflections he shows just that, his horror and critique of where the revolution went wrong. Burke is a classic figure in the late 18th and early 19th century. Although not in opposition to the basic revolutionary principles, he disliked how the revolution was going about bringing in its ideas of liberty and equality, out with the old and in with the new. Burke was more of a gradualist, believing in growth of kingdoms, nations, and politics among other things. To paraphrase Burke’s own words in the book that we must take to heart, what is a tree without its roots?
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on January 14, 2016
I've always heard of Burke, but never had occasion to read him until my book club decided to read Reflections. Now you do have to slow down to read it to an 18th century pace; you'd miss the beauty of the language and the fascinating details of life in England and France if you tried to speed read. It's worth the time. Hard to believe how relevant it is to many of today's issues!
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on August 16, 2013
Burke is a master of philosophy, religion, history, literature and rhetoric, and such is reflected in his holistic approach to civics. The first half of his work elaborates on the faulty principles of the Jacobins, while the second deals primarily with their naive reliance on these false principles in the face of various practical difficulties. Though still one of the best explications of traditional conservatism, Burke's writing is often tedious and hampered by the epistolary format of his work.
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on November 22, 2013
Apart from aspects of style - a function of the times - Burke articulates the argument against revolution of any kind with brilliant clarity. Nothing worthwhile was ever built by tearing something else down. Except when the perversion is so repugnant it must be replaced. NB. Replaced - not simply torn down. Almost without exception revolution succeeds only in making matters worse. Lincoln and the Civil War is one magnificent exception. Slavery was replaced with emancipation - and still today Lincoln's genius reaches out from 1865, as does Burke's from even earlier.
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on February 13, 2010
"Reflections on the Revolution in France" is Edmund Burke's famous denunciation of the French Revolution. Burke opposed the Revolution because the French tried to reform society by completely breaking with their past, rather than by attempting in a gradual manner to reform and improve their existing institutions.

Burke was not opposed to all change, when it righted grievous wrongs and was in line with a country's culture and institutions--he did support the American Revolution, which our Founding Fathers believed was a revolution against "a long train of abuses" leading to "absolute despotism". Burke also believed that no factions in society "should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey". This led him to support the abolition of both slavery and the slave trade.

Given that Burke supported abolition when he lived, he almost certainly would have done so had he been a nineteenth-century American. For that matter, if the non-slaveholding yeoman farmers of the antebellum South had refused to be the planters' "prey", if they had simply told the planter class that they would not support secession if the planters attempted it, and had they refused to be cannon fodder merely so the planter class could keep its slaves, perhaps the whole slaveholding system would have imploded without war, and the U.S. could have rid itself of slavery without the cost of more than 600,000 dead and multitudes more maimed.

Many twenty-first century American liberals cynically describe Burkeanism as conservatives treating liberal precedents as sacrosanct, and refer to conservatives who refuse to do so as "not Burkean", "not real conservatives", "nihilists", or "revanchists". What these liberals want is a conservatism that does not fight against or attempt to roll back misguided left-wing initiatives. Again, Burke was not opposed to all change, as he is sometimes portrayed today. If no change is ever permitted, a society is cursed with what Margaret Thatcher referred to as the "ratchet effect"--a society that periodically moves leftward, but never moves rightward to correct liberal mistakes.

Because Burke is so often misrepresented today, it is important to study him as much to determine what he did not believe as to determine what he did believe. Conservatives interested in their intellectual pedigree should read this epic work of political thought at some point in life.
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on June 7, 2016
Classic work of political philosophy that remains relevant two centuries later. A must read in a well annotated edition
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on June 8, 2015
I never really appreciated Edmund Burke historically but after encountering a reference to this book, I read it and I really can appreciate his monarchical view and why he was appalled at what happened in France. If we look at current events, destroying a system of government because you don't like a particular individual does not lead to a better government when you have to start over . . . Historically this always leads to chaos . . . and aren't we there now?
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on April 8, 2016
Needed for a class. Got it real quick. Donated to local library when I was done with it. Makes for a great read for those interest in Political Science.
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on November 22, 2015
All the other reviews I've read have reviewed the book in isolation. It's better read with (either after or before) Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution, both are deservedly classics.
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on October 4, 2014
As the revolution continued, Edmund Burke chose to write about it. This gives a great perspective from a conservative Englishman who wrote well. This is not a long book. Some might be bored but I wasn't.
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