First, there are plenty of reviews here about either his awesomeness as a conservative or his mean-spirited ickiness as the same. Care should be taken...moreFirst, there are plenty of reviews here about either his awesomeness as a conservative or his mean-spirited ickiness as the same. Care should be taken as the man was a Whig (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_B...) that is the Left party of his day. So both sides are more than a bit wrong. That being said he has come to be associated with conservatism after being on required progressive reading lists in our day and recent memory.
Some of this shift has to do with a shift in American politics. As various members of the Left defected to form neo-conservatism Burke came along for the ride. Burke, a left leaning moderate, found a home in what was a moderating position of American politics. Those born before 1970-ish will have an easier time understanding that than those born after.
Burke did supported the American Revolution but _not_ the French Revolution and he takes pains to explain why in this book. His primary interest is the maintenance of a free and liberal state. This he argues, rather convincingly, England has via the "Glorious Revolution". He further argues that pulling down that state would result in barbarism on a gigantic scale and the _erosion_ of liberties.
In this he is prophetic. France post revolution quickly drifted into bloodshed and despotism. Property was seized, lives ended, and very little was put right until after World War II. France attempted copying the much less violent American Revolution and failed spectacularly. The reasons for this are many and Burke covers them in more detail than I can here.
For those interested in the history of both the American Revolution and the French Revolution and contemporary views of the same this should be required reading. Do set aside your modern prejudices before starting though because they are likely of little to no use and will lead you to some erroneous conclusions.(less)
Some people will be turned off because this is history...
And they would be horribly mistaken. Norwich manages to cover roughly a thousand years of his...moreSome people will be turned off because this is history...
And they would be horribly mistaken. Norwich manages to cover roughly a thousand years of history and make it come alive. He keeps his eye on the stories of the key families and their interactions with the region. One of the super-powers of its day Venice is now nearly forgotten except for being a tourist hot spot. Read about _why_ it is the place it is today.(less)
An amazing non-sisfied kids book. There are _heads_ on the _floor_ in Valhalla. Beautifully illustrated and well told. A classic that should be read e...moreAn amazing non-sisfied kids book. There are _heads_ on the _floor_ in Valhalla. Beautifully illustrated and well told. A classic that should be read even by adults so that they are culturally aware.
There are no pulled punches but no attempts to directly shock. If you can't handle unedited Grimm's Fairy tales this is probably not for you. If you can, and you realize that children have to deal with real monsters, then this is for you.(less)