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Publisher's Summary

With Hegel, philosophy became very difficult indeed. His dialectical method produced the most grandiose metaphysical system known to man. Even Hegel conceded that "only one man understands me, and even he does not." Hegel's system included absolutely everything, but its most vital element was the dialectic of the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. This method sprang from Hegel's ambition to overcome the deficiencies of logic and ascended toward mind as the ultimate reality. His view of history as a process of humanity's self-realization ultimately inspired Marx to synthesize his philosophy of dialectical materialism.

In Hegel in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Hegel's life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Hegel's work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Hegel within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©1997 Paul Strathern (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Well-written, clear, and informed, they have a breezy wit about them. I find them hard to stop reading." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about Hegel in 90 Minutes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

WWF Bodyslam on Hegel

The author of this book I think does not take the time to carefully examine Hegel's contributions and to grasp his influence. He concentrates instead on criticizing Hegel, to the point where one wonders whether the author's intent is really to help the reader understand Hegel or just to see how cleverly he can insult him. For example, he spends rather a lot of attention for such a short book on Hegel's affair with his landlady - why?

I like a good poke at a pompous figure, and I have no special love for Hegel, but when I buy a book like this I hope for some insights even in the midst of criticism, and I expect the author to help me gain some clarity on the subject. Instead I got a crude body slam.

22 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

A body slam is too much effort

This is more like a slap in the face. The writer is more interested in pulling off the cynical tone that Fitzgerald criticizes in This Side of Paradise. How useful is this review if you haven't read Fitzgerald? About as useful as this book is to illuminating Hegel if you haven't read Hegel. Stay away.

16 people found this helpful

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don't waste your money

What would have made Hegel in 90 Minutes better?

The author could decrease the snark. Saying that Hegel "bamboozled" his lecture audiences in Berlin tells me nothing. Saying that some of the long sentences in his work are "gobbledeegook" tells me nothing about Hegel and something about the author.

What could Paul Strathern have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Have some genuine interest in the subject matter.

What three words best describe Robert Whitfield’s performance?

just fine

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Hegel in 90 Minutes?

n/a

Any additional comments?

Don't waste your money. If you are interested to understand Hegel this work IS NOT going to help at all.

8 people found this helpful

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Too much bias

What disappointed you about Hegel in 90 Minutes?

I was hoping for something more straightforward and less opinionated, with more content and less skewed commentary. The author clearly has personal opinions about Hegel that obscure and color the text, and not many of Hegel's actual ideas are presented.

Would you ever listen to anything by Paul Strathern again?

Probably not.

What three words best describe Robert Whitfield’s performance?

Excellent, engaging

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance, disappointment

6 people found this helpful

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The Philosophy of Port

Take a bottle of port, the feast of St. Stephen and the gaze of your giant gray cat and you have the fertile ground for 90 minutes of pure joy. Hegel in the words of Paul Strathern is hilarious. Add that to the voice of Robert Whitfield and you have intelligent entertainment. After a day of opening presents and wondering if any of your children will visit you, which one does, you can sit and listen to Hegel in 90 minutes. Listen to concepts of rationalism and State, forms of "ality," nationality, minimality, commonality, finality, and the like, as part of the mind. As long as you have a mind and a State, all things can make sense, hopefully.

2 people found this helpful

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You Get What You Pay For (Garbage)

Audible should remove this book from its collection. This short audio book was included with my Audible subscription so, given my interest in modern philosophy, I did not hesitate to add it to my Audible library. One would expect, like other philosophy books written expressly for audio presentation, that this one would provide the listener with about 90 minutes of intelligent, if simplified, descriptive material about the subject matter. Instead, the writer (Paul Strathern) devotes relatively little time to an unusually simplified overview of Hegel's work but delves into Hegel's personal life with great disdain. Late in the book he refers outright to Hegel's philosophy as "garbage" and laments its influence on European philosophy. He never explains where Hegel errs beyond Hegel's well known obtuse writing style. I had the impression that perhaps Strathern never actually understood Hegel's philosophical system so was left with a rant on his style rather than an informed argument about substance. Strathern's Wikipedia page lists 14 "X in 90 minutes" titles. Is all of it junk? I don't expect to take the time to find out. The narration, however, is a perfect, infuriating pairing for Strathern's rant.

1 person found this helpful

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won't teach you anything about Hegel

I'm not a great Hegel fan, but to understand his influence you have to approach the subject with a modicum of sympathy. This book won't help a Hegel beginner get a toehold, but I guess the idea is just to scare people off.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Neo-Hegelian metaphysics, the nail in his coffin

His coffers indelibly scribed, Giovani Gentile a convivial Hegelian transcriber of neo-idealism. His Antanaclasis inspire dogged paralipsis and puzzling hypophora. The blueprint reads, Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis of which translates into eschatological pessimism and the fervism of rabid pythagorostic monadic phenomenology. Hegelian cultists may, for no fault of their own, consider themselves obstinately puffed with the perfervid delerium that mimics the dangerously obdurate ideas of the revanchism of the time. Twentieth century continental philosophy shudders when one opens the drafty, creaky window with the paint chips crisping to the palmed pantocrators and impassioned syntactical proselytes. The Vade Mecum of all metaphysics. When will philosophers sublate their works, absolve their sins, and rid us of this debauchery of gossamer. To this I say, Multum in Parvo.

1 person found this helpful

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Absolute Gold

Mr. Strathern’s 90 Minutes series is an absolute gem for anyone remotely interested in Philosophy. A novel’s worth of knowledge condensed into these 90-minute masterpieces. The narrator, Mr. Whitfield, is a joy to listen to while driving or in transit.

1 person found this helpful

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synthetic reductivism rears its tripartite head

dismissiveness to the point of distain need not necessarily undermine the quality of a textual overview, but the author's gross misrepresentation of certain basic foundations of Hegel's thought (here the old synthetic reductivism of the dialectic rears its tripartite head) surely does. a competent biography and contextualization of the man and his work, however.