Date: 27 April 2002
Berlin writes quite clearly if with too much certainty of his perspicacity. Reading about all the ideas that flooded the 19th Century, destroying dynasties, turning millions of lives upside down, horrifying most people, or enthusing the few: you can't help wonder what our ideas are. Obviously the end of ideology is a popular one, globalisation and antiG, economic liberalism, etc. What has changed is that writers, artists, and philosophers no longer seem to lead the big ideas. They are usually dressed up as economic/ technological necessities, not the product of human imagination. Either the egotism of the human species has decreased or Marx?Hegel etc were quite right. Even attempting to write this short review makes me aware of the difficulty of any intelligent comment, let alone postive manifesto, because of a combination of my intellectual ignorance and laziness. Anyway if you squeeze a century into a book its always going to seem more interesting.
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