Edmund Burke: His Life and Opinions

Stanley Edward Ayling, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-312-02686-8
Modern conservatives have claimed fiery orator-politician Edmund Burke as one of their founding fathers, yet for a long time the political philosopher was also seen as an architect of liberalism. His attacks on patronage and corruption, his devotion to civil and religious liberties, his campaign for clean British rule in India, and his warning that revolution is for export all seem timely. So too does his angry grief over his native Ireland tearing itself apart, even his fear of the lurking collapse of civilization. Burke was one of the great prose stylists writing in English. A man of hasty temper, frequent indebtedness and crusading zeal, he was tirelessly engaged in the great issues and ephemeral controversies of his day. In this evenhanded portraitthe first full-scale life of Burke in half a centuryAlying ( George III ) avoids taking sides. Interweaving letters from Burke's recently published 10-volume correspondence, this biography lets us go beyond Burke the elitist, the intolerant foe of atheists and scorner of democracy to reassess his many positions in the context of his, and our, time. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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