Fire and light: how the Enlightenment transformed our world

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Pub. Date:
2013.
Language:
English
Description

"With this profound and magnificent book, drawing on his deep reservoir of thought and expertise in the humanities, James MacGregor Burns takes us into the fire's center. As a 21st-century philosopher, he brings to vivid life the incandescent personalities and ideas that embody the best in Western civilization and shows us how understanding them is essential for anyone who would seek to decipher the complex problems and potentialities of the world we will live in tomorrow." --Michael Beschloss, New York Times bestselling author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989

"James MacGregor Burns is a national treasure, and Fire and Light is the elegiac capstone to a career devoted to understanding the seminal ideas that made America - for better and for worse - what it is." --Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author Revolutionary Summer

Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and transformational intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment

In this engaging, provocative history, James MacGregor Burns brilliantly illuminates the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, when audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, overturning governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments. Fire and Light brings to vivid life the galaxy of revolutionary leaders of thought and action who, armed with a new sense of human possibility, driven by a hunger for change, created the modern world. Burns discovers the origins of a distinctive American Enlightenment in men like the Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality. It was these thinker-activists who framed the UnitedStates as a grand and continuing experiment in Enlightenment principles.

Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the turmoil of the Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, and China, as well as in the United States itself. What should a nation be? What should citizens expect from their government? Who should lead and how can leadership be made both effective and accountable? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns's exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our modern world shines a new light on these ever-important questions.

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ISBN:
9781250024893
9781452696201
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 11bf7b10-9b5c-c519-81fa-3827faf3a91e
full_title fire and light how the enlightenment transformed our world
author burns james macgregor
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-01-17 04:29:54AM

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author Burns, James MacGregor.
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display_description In this engaging history, James MacGregor Burns brings to vivid life the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, during which audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, bringing down governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments that would ultimately reach every corner of the globe. Unlike most historians, Burns pays particular attention to America's intellectual revolution, beginning and ending his story on American soil. He discovers the origins of our domestic Enlightenment in men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality, and he highlights the role of thinkers like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. After all, it was the American founders, alone among Enlightenment thinkers, who actually carried through with their ideas. Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the blossoming Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, China, and in the United States. What should a nation be? What should a citizenry expect from its government? Who should lead and decide? How can citizens effect change? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns's exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our nation shines a new light on these ever-important questions.
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subject_facet Enlightenment -- France, Enlightenment -- Great Britain, Enlightenment -- Influence, Enlightenment -- United States
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title Fire and light : how the Enlightenment transformed our world
title_display Fire and light : how the enlightenment transformed our world
title_full Fire and light : how the enlightenment transformed our world / James MacGregor Burns, Fire and light: how the Enlightenment transformed our world [electronic resource] / James MacGregor Burns
title_short Fire and light :
title_sort fire and light how the enlightenment transformed our world
title_sub how the Enlightenment transformed our world
topic Enlightenment France, Enlightenment Great Britain, Enlightenment Influence, Enlightenment United States
topic_facet Enlightenment, Influence