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The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In an elegant, eminently readable work, one of our most distinguished intellectual historians gives us a brilliant revisionist history. The Roads to Modernity reclaims the Enlightenment–an extraordinary time bursting with new ideas about human nature, politics, society, and religion--from historians who have downgraded its importance and from scholars who have given ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 9th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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يعد هذا الكتاب بمثابة جولة سريعة على ثلاثة تيارات فكرية شكلت منعطفا تاريخيا هاما عرف في ما بعد بالحداثة. ففي حين يصر الفرنسيون على إحتكار التنوير و نسبه بالكلية لفلاسفتهم المقدسين للعقل حد الدوغمائية و المصابين برهاب كل ما هو ديني ، نجد الكاتبة تحلل نموذجا آخر للتنوير هو النموذج البريطاني الذي إهتم ببناء المجتمع أكثر من إهتمامه بالسلطة نفسها و المستند على الأخلاق التي استمدها الفلاسفة البريطانيون من الدين (و ان لم يكونوا مؤمنين في أحيان كثيرة) ساعين بذلك لإيجاد نموذج إجتماعي خيّر، لذلك أطلق على
Thomas Baughman
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A NeoConservative view of the Enlightenment. In a nutshell she argues that the British and American limited vesions of the Enlightenment are good and the Nasty Radical French version of it is bad.
Jan 09, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب بنسخته الالكترونية
This book does a great job comparing and contrasting the differences of the Enlightenment as experienced in Britain, the U.S., and France. It's like an introductory, comparative survey course of the various Enlightenment thinkers in the three countries, so do not expect in-depth or detailed analysis on any particular person. This book is more to give you a general picture of the intellectual climate of those times. The treatment of the American Enlightenment is the briefest of the three, which ...more
Francisco Segundo
Tentativa de trazer o Iluminismo para os ingleses, a quem a autora atribui suas origens, e para os americanos; fugindo um pouco daquele confinamento dado aos franceses. Interessante ponto de vista, principalmente porque o desenrolar dessas ideias, o que o próprio livro desenvolve, tiveram muito mais sucesso e frutos nos Estados Unidos e na Inglaterra que na França. Leitura não é difícil, praticamente um apanhado sobre filosofia do século XVIII em que a autora tenta concatenar para explicar suas ...more
Rick Sam
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A Wonderful read ––I learnt differences among British, French Philosophers in Enlightenment.
I learnt more on John Wesley, And how Methodism influenced lower class in British Society.

As, I knew earlier –– Man is a religious animal, And Religion helps, contributes so much to society.
I was surprised to read Jefferson saying, "No Nation has ever been existed or governed without a religion."

I would recommend this book to someone, who wants to understand more about Enlightenment.

--Deus Vult
Mohammed Hussam
يتناول الكتاب ثلاث نماذج مختلفة من التنوير شكلت بمجموعها الحداثة..

- التنوير البرطاني والذي كانت سمته الأساسية هي سيكوليجية الفضيلة.
- التنوير الفرنسي الذي كانت دعامته الأساسية تقديس العقل.
- التنوير الأمريكي الذي سعى لبناء علم سياسة الحرية

ما لم يعجبني بالكتاب هو اهماله لبلدان كان لها تأثير كبير في عملية الأنتقال إلى الحداثة -كهولندا وسويسرا وألمانيا.. بالاضافة إلى محاولاتها التقليل من شأن التنوير الفرنسي..
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Al Bità
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Himmelfarb sets out to “reclaim” the Enlightenment from two factions: historians who have downgraded its importance; and scholars who have given its pre-eminence to the French. Regarding the former, Himmelfarb believes that the Enlightenment is alive and well, with resonances for many of us today. She develops her main theme, however, by extending and differently-qualifying what she means by “the enlightenment”. To this end, she is concerned to expand on the contributions of the ...more
Monica Perez
Dec 14, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a good overview of the British, French and American Enlightenments. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the British Enlightenment as it was the most thorough and also the Enlightenment itself was the most interesting, the most original and seemed to be driven by philosophers looking to discover truth rather than push an agenda (as were the French philosophes). However, Himmelfarb displays in the end a most irrational conclusion often reached by neo-conservatives: that the experiment ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Reclaiming the Enlightenment would be an ambitious challenge for any historian, but it is perhaps even more daunting for one so closely identified with a particular brand of politics (neoconservatism). No one questions Himmelfarb's credentials for tackling the job: she is professor emeritus at the City University of New York and the author of nine books. But she takes some hard lumps for attempting to link the Enlightenment to the current American political scene (one reviewer dubbed her "an

Moomen Sallam
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رغم تحيز الكاتبة للتنوير الانجليزي وضد التنوير الفرنسي ورفضها لاحتكار الفرنسيين للتنوير، إلا انها تقدم صورة بانورامية شاملة للتنوير بشكل عام سواء الفرنسي الذي تسمية ايديولوجيا العقل او الانجليزي الذي تطلق علية سوسيولوجيا الفضيلة والامريكي الذي تلقبة بعلم سياسة الحرية
وفقا لطريقة كل منهم في السير نحو الحداثة
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
بإمكان من يريد التعرف على التنوير أن يجد كتباً أفضل من هذا الكتاب الذي يتناول ثلاثة نماذج من التنوير فقط، بأسلوب معقد لا يناسب سوى المختصين..
بالإضافة إلى التعقيد والافتقار إلى التنظيم، لم يعجبني انحياز الكاتبة للتنوير البريطاني ضد التنوير الفرنسي بشكل صريح وصل حد الطعن بفلاسفة فرنسا وتنويرها، هذا برأيي أسلوب يضع موضوعية الكاتب على المحك، ويفقده ثقة القارئ.
Gamal elneel
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
التنوير البريطانى والفضيلة
وقادة الفكر آدم سميث وجون لوك وديفيد هيوم وصمويل جونسون

التنير الفرنسى وايدلوجييا العقل
جان جاك روسو وفولتير

والتنوير الامريكى والحرية
A fascinating look at the British, French and American enlightenments. I found the account of the British enlightenment most interesting, with its emphasis on social morality and explaining why the British are so passionate about compassion. Himmelfarb contents that the British enlightenment as well as the American one which emphasized liberty were far more influential than the French enlightenment with its emphasis on reason alone, and which inexorably led to terror and dictatorship.
Praveen Kishore
A good book focusing on British side of enlightenment story, also identifying three underlying strands for analysis - the sociology of virtue in Britain, the ideology of reason in France, and the politics of liberty in US.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
"On a moving personal note, [Washington] told [the Cherokee] that just as he was about to retire from public life, so he was asking them to retire as a nation."

Found the author very pretentious, lots of "so-and-so said this, but they were wrong".
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Not enough talk about decadent French perverts... who cares about Methodism?
Nathan Elberg
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thorough analysis of the origins of the Enlightenment and why it took different forms in different nations.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick overview of the enlightenment in 3 distinct varieties of French, American, and British and how these differed. Would be good to read further on each now.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this a long time ago. Dr. Himmelfarb's books Are all worth reading, and in this short history of the enlightenment, she takes the time slightly different route. In summary, the author distinguishes three streams within "the Enlightenment" and argues that the original project was the British. In this way she is able to distinguish the British enlightenment from the radical French revolutionaries spirit.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تنكشف من خلال صفحات الكتاب على موضوعات النقاش الدائر في عصر التنوير بنماذجه الثلاثة: البريطاني، الفرنسي والأمريكي. من الملفت للانتباه أن التنوير هذا اعتمد على تداول فكري نشط بين مفكّري وفلاسفة كل بلد فيما بينهم، وما تجاوز حدود البلد أيضا.
التنوير البريطاني اعتمد على اعتقاد راسخ بوجود الحاسة الخلقية أو ما شابهها من اصطلاحات (سوسيولوجيا الفضيلة) لدى الناس فحرّك مكامن الخير والعطاء لديهم لخلق ما عرف بعصر الأريحية الذي انتشرت به المؤسسات والأعمال الخيرية. بالاضافة الى تجنب هذا التنوير مواجهة مباشرة
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I would have preferred a history of the Enlightenment rather than this survey of different issues of that period. One complaint I have is despite the subtitle of the book, about 120 pages are devoted to trying to argue for including England in the Enlightenment (which I agree with) and only 38 pages to the French and 35 pages to the American Enlightenments. While I agree that the English and American revolutions were certainly more successful (and less bloody) than the French Revolution, I find ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Enlightenments was perfect. I read Gertrude Himmelfarb's The Demoralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values a few years ago, and thought it was extremely thought provoking and well-written. I think the same of The Roads; however, I would recommend becoming familiar with the basics of western philosophy before reading this one. If you're unfamiliar with Kant, Hume, Smith etc...(the list goes on and on), then it would be really difficult to follow or identify with the ideas in ...more
Feb 23, 2009 is currently reading it
Learn a bit about the Enlightenment witha new twist: The French do not get all the credit nor was the era all about reason. I don't have much frame of reference to compete with her assertions but i find it stimulating to understand the movements in thought which informed this pre-Victorian era. I've only read the British section and a bit of the French. Stopped to read another book and rest my mind from accumulating dead people names. :)
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Oh Gertrude. Why you so incisively crass?

She badly misreads at least one document(s; the famous Jefferson-Madison exchange on generations), cherry-picks shock-value quotes from the philosophes, & overstates American egalitarianism (mostly by quoting Tocqueville),--all in an attempt to reify the cliche ([for her] yay) reformist Britain vs. (ew) revolutionary France binary.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a welcome corrective to the notion that the Enlightenment began in France. The British version not only predated the French and American versions, but heavily influenced them. The only criticism I would make is that it is too patriotically British. Patriotism invariably distorts objectivity. Nonetheless, it's great to read about this hitherto neglected area of history.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The bulk of this book is great: informative, compelling, modest and measured in its claims, most importantly engaging.

This may be my residual Calvinism speaking, but I'm less sanguine than Himmelfarb about contemporary American life (see Epilogue; but see also the astounding qualifying sentence).
Oct 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Although I read this for class and it seemed excessively boring at first, it was actually a really smart look at Enlightenment ideas and trends of 18th century American, French, and English philosophers.
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Gertrude Himmelfarb, also known as Bea Kristol, was an American historian. She was a leader and conservative interpretations of history and historiography. She wrote extensively on intellectual history, with a focus on Britain and the Victorian era, as well as on contemporary society and culture.

“The separation of church and state, however interpreted, did not signify the separation of church and society.” 1 likes
“To look upon religion as the ultimate source of morality, and hence of a good society and a sound policy, is not demeaning to religion. On the contrary, it pays religion—and God—the great tribute of being essential to the welfare of mankind. And it does credit to man as well, who is deemed capable of subordinating his lower nature to his higher, of venerating and giving obeisance to something above himself.” 1 likes
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