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50 Politics Classics: Freedom Equality Power: Mind-Changing, World-Changing Ideas from Fifty Landmark Books

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From Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, and from Aristotle to George Orwell, 50 POLITICS CLASSICS distills the essence of the books, pamphlets, and speeches of the major leaders and great thinkers that drive real-world change. Spanning 2,500 years, left and right, thinkers and doers, Tom Butler-Bowdon's new book covers activists, war strategists, visionary leaders, economi From Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, and from Aristotle to George Orwell, 50 POLITICS CLASSICS distills the essence of the books, pamphlets, and speeches of the major leaders and great thinkers that drive real-world change. Spanning 2,500 years, left and right, thinkers and doers, Tom Butler-Bowdon's new book covers activists, war strategists, visionary leaders, economists, philosophers of freedom, feminists, conservatives and environmentalists, right up to contemporary classics such as The Spirit Level and No Logo. Whether you consider yourself to be conservative, liberal, socialist, or Marxist, this book gives you greater understanding of the key ideas that matter in our politically charged times.


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From Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, and from Aristotle to George Orwell, 50 POLITICS CLASSICS distills the essence of the books, pamphlets, and speeches of the major leaders and great thinkers that drive real-world change. Spanning 2,500 years, left and right, thinkers and doers, Tom Butler-Bowdon's new book covers activists, war strategists, visionary leaders, economi From Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, and from Aristotle to George Orwell, 50 POLITICS CLASSICS distills the essence of the books, pamphlets, and speeches of the major leaders and great thinkers that drive real-world change. Spanning 2,500 years, left and right, thinkers and doers, Tom Butler-Bowdon's new book covers activists, war strategists, visionary leaders, economists, philosophers of freedom, feminists, conservatives and environmentalists, right up to contemporary classics such as The Spirit Level and No Logo. Whether you consider yourself to be conservative, liberal, socialist, or Marxist, this book gives you greater understanding of the key ideas that matter in our politically charged times.

30 review for 50 Politics Classics: Freedom Equality Power: Mind-Changing, World-Changing Ideas from Fifty Landmark Books

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dr Osama

    كتاب يتضمن خمسين فكرة كلاسيكية عن السياسة. مقدمة مفيدة تفتح أبوابا لمزيد من الاطلاع ..

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    Lists of greats are often peculiar to the editors of such lists. This list is pretty good but most readers will have their gripes (mine are that Chomsky on is slapped on an additional 50 authors at the end and John Rawls is neglected entirely.) I detect a mild bias to the right but I am on the left side of things (know your reviewer and caveat emptor and all that). It gets most of the big names. A good primer on the wonderful world of political ideology.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    At first when I read this book and saw some of the books that were included, I was pretty irritated because they are not classics in the sense of being good books that are worth copying.  Nevertheless, the author includes such a diverse and even contradictory set of books that it is obvious that the author's own views are not governing the books included but that the author is seeking to provide a list of influential books that have mostly stood the test of time and that at least motivate the po At first when I read this book and saw some of the books that were included, I was pretty irritated because they are not classics in the sense of being good books that are worth copying.  Nevertheless, the author includes such a diverse and even contradictory set of books that it is obvious that the author's own views are not governing the books included but that the author is seeking to provide a list of influential books that have mostly stood the test of time and that at least motivate the political worldviews of others whether or not the writer or reader will in fact agree with the points of view expressed in the books.  And looking at the book that way, as an attempt to provide as broad a possible an understanding of political works from theorists as well as politicians themselves, I was able to enjoy the book and use it as a source for potential further reading rather than to be irritated that it included so many books that have done such harm to humanity through attempts at putting misguided ideals into practice that fail to account for the realities of human existence. This book is a bit more than 300 pages long and it discusses in some detail 50 books that the author views as political classics along with more brief discussions of 50 additional books (including Bastiat's fantastic "The Law") that the author recommends for reading.  After an introduction the author moves into a collection that is alphabetically organized by author where each entry is included with its date of publication, title, some quotes, a one-paragraph summary, other books like it in the collection, as well as a larger summary of the work that is usually around 4 pages long or even more.  The works included here are very broad in scope, beginning with a posthumous collection of essays by Lord Acton and then moving on through Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals to Arendt's writing on the origins of totalitarianism, Berlin's thoughts on liberty, Clausewitz's On War, Hayek's Road To Serfdom, Hobbes' Leviathan, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, John Stuart Mill's feminist writings, Mencius' essays, Orwell's Animal Farm, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago.  The book even includes the autobiography of Margaret Thatcher and Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom, only adding to its complexity.  Suffice it to say that everyone will find something to like here but hardly anyone will think all of these books worth reading and appreciating. That is not to say that this book is by any means a perfect one.  The author clearly approaches politics and political science and political philosophy from the point of view of someone who looks at political matters rather than moral ones.  It is hard to get a sense of the author's trustworthiness given the way that he talks up every one of these books as a classic even in a collection that includes works as diverse as libertarian classics and communist and socialist foundational works.  One of the pleasures in reading a book like this one is to see what books should have been included on the list and which books one has already read.  Since this book provides a wide variety of books to read, it also allows the reader to find a few books one might want to read in the future, as it did for me, and this is definitely something worth appreciating as well.  Reading a book to read more books sounds very Nathanish, if you ask me.  So, even if the author's criteria of what is a classic is a bit dodgy and the author's opinions are a bit untrustworthy, this book is still useful as a resource for those readers who are interested in political classics.

  4. 5 out of 5

    VENKATRAMAN C K

    Wonderful book. The Author summarises 50 political books . One chapter for each book. It is a sweeping coverage of Philosophers, Leaders, Social reformers and Activities in the field of Politics. Power, Equality, Liberty , Class, Gender and other elements that impacted humans throughout history and continue to impact us are discussed . As I was reading, I was applying the various thoughts and assertions of these men and women of the past to recent political trends and am not surprised to see the Wonderful book. The Author summarises 50 political books . One chapter for each book. It is a sweeping coverage of Philosophers, Leaders, Social reformers and Activities in the field of Politics. Power, Equality, Liberty , Class, Gender and other elements that impacted humans throughout history and continue to impact us are discussed . As I was reading, I was applying the various thoughts and assertions of these men and women of the past to recent political trends and am not surprised to see their warnings and predictions are correct !!! One small thing ... do you know that Mary Wollstonecraft back in 18 th century fought for women being educated .. she suggested to have Schools where Boys and Girls from various classes ( rich and poor ) studied as equals wearing “uniforms”... same fabrics so they do not feel class distinctions !!! The word “uniform” in school suddenly took on a new meaning to me !!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I got bored with this as was just a pick up and put down book, not really for me but I did read some of them when I wanted to send myself to sleep.

  6. 4 out of 5

    O

    I received a promotional book for free. My review is completely my own. This is an interesting book, covering many politicians/political thinkers from Plato's time to the 21st century. It is a 'heavy' book - it is distilled to the point that it is slightly difficult to read it in one go - you need time to digest the different ideas. I recommend reading one or a few chapters at a time. All chapters have an 'in a nutshell' sentence or two, trying to summarise the one most important point, and a few I received a promotional book for free. My review is completely my own. This is an interesting book, covering many politicians/political thinkers from Plato's time to the 21st century. It is a 'heavy' book - it is distilled to the point that it is slightly difficult to read it in one go - you need time to digest the different ideas. I recommend reading one or a few chapters at a time. All chapters have an 'in a nutshell' sentence or two, trying to summarise the one most important point, and a few quotes, that introduce the chapter. After that, each thinker is presented in a different way - and it is good that not everyone is moulded into the same template. It is difficult to assess how objective/neutral the author has been, especially when you read about thinkers that you know nothing or very little about. However, some chapters where I have some knowledge - for example, the chapter on Thatcher - does occasionally make me wonder if the information presented really resembles 'reality'. I guess it is inevitable that any author would have to make choices on how to present things that are based on their own knowledge/thoughts, so probably impossible to be entirely 'neutral' (and sometimes it feels like the author has enjoyed writing about some of them than others!). I would still encourage anyone who wants a 'full picture' of a specific thinker/politician to read more sources.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin Ridgway

    This has good, clear summaries of the 50 texts it selects. Each is boiled down to 6 pages (OK sometimes 4, sometimes 8) with a page for a summary and some quotes; followed by a run through of the main idea; ending with a summary and, usually, a brief biography of the author(s). I'm not sure if I was detecting a slight bias towards the free market or that was just me projecting my scepticism against that; I'll leave readers to decide that for themselves. One point that seemed odd at first and still This has good, clear summaries of the 50 texts it selects. Each is boiled down to 6 pages (OK sometimes 4, sometimes 8) with a page for a summary and some quotes; followed by a run through of the main idea; ending with a summary and, usually, a brief biography of the author(s). I'm not sure if I was detecting a slight bias towards the free market or that was just me projecting my scepticism against that; I'll leave readers to decide that for themselves. One point that seemed odd at first and still bothers me: the 50 entries are arranged alphabetically by author. There's an introduction that groups them by theme and I read them that way, jumping through the book a few times. Next time, I could read it chronologically, starting inevitably with Aristotle and Plato. A word of warning: written in 2015 and so missed the upsurge in populist government all over. A new edition that addresses that might be in order.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ewandro

    "When you hear 'founding fathers', it can’t end well. It only suggests a different kind of nationalism: “patriotism” they call it. It’s like LGBTQIetc. (ch. 5) in the place of binary identifications: it’s still identities. Why care? Why care where you live, or about names? We’re talking about 19th and 18th century: that was not freedom. Also, the 'ancient romans': you can’t say that liberty (civilization) started there, and then evolved. As long as there were slaves (or simply no discursivity), "When you hear 'founding fathers', it can’t end well. It only suggests a different kind of nationalism: “patriotism” they call it. It’s like LGBTQIetc. (ch. 5) in the place of binary identifications: it’s still identities. Why care? Why care where you live, or about names? We’re talking about 19th and 18th century: that was not freedom. Also, the 'ancient romans': you can’t say that liberty (civilization) started there, and then evolved. As long as there were slaves (or simply no discursivity), it had nothing to do with liberty." That was from this. What you mean with freedom is against almost everyone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Moukad

    A collection that offers brief excerpts and short summaries of the works of 50 political thinkers. While it includes many major thinkers it is pretty idiosyncratic in some of the non-standard inclusions which tilt heavily towards recent American and English-language work. It would not be a good way to learn about these thinkers, but it was an ok way to quickly revisit their perspectives, and that exercise was instructive at this moment (2020) when the future political direction of the US is far A collection that offers brief excerpts and short summaries of the works of 50 political thinkers. While it includes many major thinkers it is pretty idiosyncratic in some of the non-standard inclusions which tilt heavily towards recent American and English-language work. It would not be a good way to learn about these thinkers, but it was an ok way to quickly revisit their perspectives, and that exercise was instructive at this moment (2020) when the future political direction of the US is far more uncertain than it has long seemed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    An amazing summary of the key ideas and concepts within 50 classic books that shape the political landscape. The author takes no personal stance or makes unnecessary comments based on what he thinks. It's objective and nothing is dumbed down. Each summary felt as though I had actually had the ideas conveyed to me through the original writers. Highly recommend, but it should be read slowly and over time (maybe as a secondary book) so that you really grasp each of the 50 classics within.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kanske Svartfors

    I can only say the same thing I said about the book about 50 philosophers. This book succeeds in what it set out to do. It delivers consise, extremely well written, thus understandable, accounts of political thinkers in a nutshell. I can easily recommended this to anyone even slighty interested in the topic 5/5

  12. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I must say, I found this rather boring. I couldn't retain what I read because, of necessity, authors' justifications, arguments etc were not presented. I did get a sense of the breadth of poltitical philosophy, which is useful in itself.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shishir

    An excellent compilation of Political thinkers reflecting not only issues of their times, but many ideologies that we constantly juggle with.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tony Brassington

    Another classic book from Tom. 50 Politics Classics dose not disappoint the readers, like each of the preceding 50 classic titles, this book is very well written and cram packed with thought provoking ideas. Tom has the ability to bring each of the books he reviews to life, and he gives an account of each book which is both interesting to read and as accurate a reflection of each book as possible. As with all of Tom’s 50 Classic books, look out for the running themes across the book as a whole. 5 Another classic book from Tom. 50 Politics Classics dose not disappoint the readers, like each of the preceding 50 classic titles, this book is very well written and cram packed with thought provoking ideas. Tom has the ability to bring each of the books he reviews to life, and he gives an account of each book which is both interesting to read and as accurate a reflection of each book as possible. As with all of Tom’s 50 Classic books, look out for the running themes across the book as a whole. 50 books, from different authors, from around the world and at different periods of time, yet the human truths will speak out from across the 50; the running themes. I am always very happy to recommend every one of Tom’s 50 classics titles. I believe each of Tom’s books brings real value to the reader, in the form of a wealth of knowledge, which better equips a person for their journey through life. 50 Politics Classics makes a great contribution to the whole series of 50 Classics. It’s a must read book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This book is a great reminder of the foundations of political thought over the centuries. While not the definitive list, it gave me a reminder of some of the books that shaped our world view and inspired me to seek out some new works. "featuring texts by Saul Alinsky, Edmund Burke, Rachel Carson, Carl von Clausewitz, Francis Fukuyama, Mahatma Gandhi, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Hobbes, Martin Luther King, Niccolo Machiavelli, Karl Marx, J. S. Mill, George Orwell, Thomas Paine, Plato, Jean-Jacques Rou This book is a great reminder of the foundations of political thought over the centuries. While not the definitive list, it gave me a reminder of some of the books that shaped our world view and inspired me to seek out some new works. "featuring texts by Saul Alinsky, Edmund Burke, Rachel Carson, Carl von Clausewitz, Francis Fukuyama, Mahatma Gandhi, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Hobbes, Martin Luther King, Niccolo Machiavelli, Karl Marx, J. S. Mill, George Orwell, Thomas Paine, Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexis De Tocqueville, Mary Wollstonecraft, and many more..."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    I won this book in the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I passed this book to my husband, as I knew he would enjoy this book more than I. A man of little words, he said that this book was interesting and very well written. Also said that he would recommend this book to all who are interested in this subject. I shall be keeping this book in one of my many library shelves.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Morenike

    And now, I have 50 more intriguing books to read. This book provides enough information about each book and each author to carry on an intelligent dinner conversation about each. It included thoughtfully collected summaries with comparisons about the ideology behind each of the political classics as well. I love it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I won this book on a goodread giveaway. A mixture of brilliant minds ideas and history all rolled into one.A delightful arrangement of facts and figures and an ideal reference book Many Thanks

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Wyatt

    This is a fantastic beginners introduction to the wide spectrum of political thought

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Saputro

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laurynas

  22. 4 out of 5

    ahmad

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Wimmer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yurii Buhai

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mir Ahmad

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Repacholi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie Grob

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