He lucidly unfolds Burke's philosophy, showing how it revealed itself in concrete historical situations in the 18th century and how Burke, through his philosophy, "speaks to our age".
This volume makes vivid the four great struggles in the life of Burke: his work for conciliation with the American colonies; his involvement in cutting down the domestic power of George III; his prosecution of Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of India; and his resistance to Jacobinism, the French Revolution's "armed doctrine."
In each of these great phases of his public life, Burke fought with passionate eloquence and relentless logic for justice and for the proper balance of order and freedom. With sure instinct born of his sympathy and understanding, Russell Kirk gives us the incisive quotation, the illuminating highlight, the moving, all-too-human elements that bring Burke and his times to vivid life.
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Edmund Burke. Beautifully written, well narrated and very inspiring, Kirk offers a profound perspective into the life and times of Burke.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Edmund Burke is indeed a genius, and Kirk gives us an excellent book about him. It is part biography, part analysis of Burke's ideas and significance. If you want an extremely detailed biography or analysis, this book is not the place to go. But if you want Burke in a nutshell (200+ pages), this is ideal. My only complaint: the narrator reads too fast. If you are following along with the text of the book, this may not be a problem. But if you are just listening, you don't have time to digest what the reader just said because he's already racing on to the next sentence. A more moderate tempo is really needed...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Refreshing short biography of the parent of modern conservatism. A principled, respectable rational man who understood his present (late 1700s )and predicted future outcomes (most notable the carnage of the French Revolution). Sadly so-called conservatives in America today (early 21st century) are more like the radicals of the French Revolution than they are the principled Edmond Burke. Russell Kirks telling of Edmond Burke story is compelling, Burke’s approach to politics and power is as relevant today as ever.
This book is very interesting and you will learn how relevant Edmund Burke was to the British reactions to the American and French revolutions. Most importantly, how Burke identified the evils of the French Revolution before others could detect the existential danger to civilization. Ultimately, the Jacobins of today (liberals and progressives) still believe the same twisted, dangerous things they believed in the 1700's, this makes Burke very important to the modern conservative.
The book is heavy on policy and light on personal life, which is very good. I am not particularly interested on details like favorite color, problems with mother, and how the hair was combed. Leave that to the new Ron Chernow books, that are basically garbage.
Riggenbach is a narrator that I like and is very clear, he was good in this book.
If you could sum up Edmund Burke in three words, what would they be?
A great Statesman who understood the need for Individual Liberty. He did not like revolutions, as he predicted that they would be bloody events.