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Fatal Purity

Author: Ruth Scurr
Publisher: Random House
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Robespierre was only thirty-six when he died, sent to the guillotine where he had sent thousands ahead of him. Robespierre and the Revolution were inseparable: a single inflexible tyrant. But what turned a shy young lawyer into the living embodiment of the Terror at its most violent? Admirers called him 'the great incorruptible'; critics dubbed him a 'monster', a 'bloodthirsty charlatan'. Ruth Scurr sheds new light on this puzzle, tracing Robespierre's life from a troubled childhood in provincial Arras to the passionate idealist, fighting for the rights of the people, and sweeping on to the implacable leader prepared to sign the death warrant for his closest friends.


Revolutionary Ideas

Author: Jonathan Israel
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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How the Radical Enlightenment inspired and shaped the French Revolution Historians of the French Revolution used to take for granted what was also obvious to its contemporary observers—that the Revolution was shaped by the radical ideas of the Enlightenment. Yet in recent decades, scholars have argued that the Revolution was brought about by social forces, politics, economics, or culture—almost anything but abstract notions like liberty or equality. In Revolutionary Ideas, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment restores the Revolution’s intellectual history to its rightful central role. Drawing widely on primary sources, Jonathan Israel shows how the Revolution was set in motion by radical eighteenth-century doctrines, how these ideas divided revolutionary leaders into vehemently opposed ideological blocs, and how these clashes drove the turning points of the Revolution. In this compelling account, the French Revolution stands once again as a culmination of the emancipatory and democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. That it ended in the Terror represented a betrayal of those ideas—not their fulfillment.


The Intellectual Temptation

Author: Frits Bolkestein
Publisher: Author House
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“...an absorbing (and beautifully written) study that deserves a very wide audience.” - Joshua Muravchik “...an erudite account of where [the] vision [of individual liberty] comes from, why some ideologues set themselves against it, and how our contemporaries have ceased to treasure it.” - Christopher Caldwell “Bolkestein exposes today’s fashionable, yet dangerous ideas, doing a great service not only to Europe but indeed to the whole of Western civilization.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali The dangers of intellectuals and their ideas in politics have rarely beenwritten about by politicians themselves. This is not surprising, for few politicians are up to the task. However, Frits Bolkestein is a notable exception, bringing rare if not unique qualifi cations to this examination. Not only has he held national and international offi ce in Europe, but he has also studied, read, taught and published broadly. The thesis of The Intellectual Temptation is simple but penetrating: intellectuals’ ideas are problematic as political ideas because they are often neither derived from nor falsifiable by experience. These ideas are frequently dreams attempting to become reality through power politics. There is also a cultural problem. Intellectuals are pack animals, looking to one another for approval. This affects the quality of their ideas, as they are susceptible to fashionable ideology and group pressure—frequently attracted to ideas that are appealing rather than sound. Very few of them are brave enough to stand against the prevailing orthodoxy. Beginning with a history of ideology, Bolkestein traces a nearly 300 year trend of bad ideas making worse politics, sometimes disastrously so. From his own experience he offers a vision of a politics of prudence, proper pragmatism and Classicism as a way out of the “intellectual temptation” that we have fallen under.


The French Revolution

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Publisher: Routledge
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The French Revolution was one of the greatest events in world history, filled with remarkable characters and dramatic events. From its beginning in 1789 to the Reign of Terror in 1793–94, and through the ups and downs of the Directory era that followed, the Revolution showed humanity at its optimistic best and its violent worst; it transformed the lives of all who experienced it. The French Revolution: Faith, Desire, and Politics offers a fresh treatment of this perennially popular and hugely significant topic, introducing a bold interpretation of the Revolution that highlights the key role that religion and sexuality played in determining the shape of the Revolution. These were issues that occupied the minds and helped shape the actions of women and men; from the pornographic pamphlets about queen Marie-Antoinette to the puritanical morality of revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre, from the revolutionary catechisms that children learned and to the anathemas hurled on the Revolution from clandestine priests in the countryside. The people who lived through the French Revolution were surrounded by messages about gender, sex, religion and faith, concerns which did not exist outside of the events of the Revolution. This book is an essential resource for students of the French Revolution, History of Catholicism and Women and Gender.


The Invention of News

Author: Andrew Pettegree
Publisher: Yale University Press
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“A fascinating account of the gathering and dissemination of news from the end of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution” and the rise of the newspaper (Glenn Altschuler, The Huffington Post). Long before the invention of printing, let alone the daily newspaper, people wanted to stay informed. In the pre-industrial era, news was mostly shared through gossip, sermons, and proclamations. The age of print brought pamphlets, ballads, and the first news-sheets. In this groundbreaking history, renowned historian Andrew Pettegree tracks the evolution of news in ten countries over the course of four centuries, examining the impact of news media on contemporary events and the lives of an ever-more-informed public. The Invention of News sheds light on who controlled the news and who reported it; the use of news as a tool of political protest and religious reform; issues of privacy and titillation; the persistent need for news to be current and for journalists to be trustworthy; and people’s changing sense of themselves and their communities as they experienced newly opened windows on the world. “This expansive view of news and how it reached people will be fascinating to readers interested in communication and cultural history.” —Library Journal (starred review)


John Aubrey

Author: Ruth Scurr
Publisher: Random House
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD This is the autobiography that John Aubrey never wrote. You may not know his name. Aubrey was a modest man, a gentleman-scholar who cared far more for the preservation of history than for his own legacy. But he was a passionate collector, an early archaeologist and the inventor of modern biography. With all the wit, charm and originality that characterises her subject, Ruth Scurr has seamlessly stitched together John Aubrey’s own words to tell his life story and a captivating history of seventeenth-century England unlike any other. 'A game-changer in the world of biography' Mary Beard 'Ingenious' Hilary Mantel 'Irresistible' Philip Pullman


Martyrdom and Terrorism

Author: Dominic Janes
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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In recent years, terrorism has become closely associated with martyrdom in the minds of many terrorists and in the view of nations around the world. In Islam, martyrdom is mostly conceived as "bearing witness" to faith and God. Martyrdom is also central to the Christian tradition, not only in the form of Christ's Passion or saints faced with persecution and death, but in the duty to lead a good and charitable life. In both religions, the association of religious martyrdom with political terror has a long and difficult history. The essays of this volume illuminate this history--following, for example, Christian martyrdom from its origins in the Roman world, to the experience of the deaths of "terrorist" leaders of the French Revolution, to parallels in the contemporary world--and explore historical parallels among Islamic, Christian, and secular traditions. Featuring essays from eminent scholars in a wide range of disciplines, Martyrdom and Terrorism provides a timely comparative history of the practices and discourses of terrorism and martyrdom from antiquity to the twenty-first century.


Jean Jacques Rousseau

Author: Jurgen Oelkers
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau, enlightenment philosopher and founder of 'natural education', is one of the most influential philosophers of education in the western world. In order to fully understand Rousseau's impact as a true educational thinker, Jurgen Oelkers argues that we must take into account his paradoxical style, unique intellectual biography and his turbulent and unconventional way of life. Combining historical analysis and contemporary ethical theory, this text serves as both an introduction to Rousseau's theories of education and a critique of his views, and shows how Rousseau was a pioneer in exploring educational issues within the context of his own philosophical problems in order to present innovative solutions.


The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership

Author: R. A. W. Rhodes
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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Political leadership has made a comeback. It was studied intensively not only by political scientists but also by political sociologists and psychologists, Sovietologists, political anthropologists, and by scholars in comparative and development studies from the 1940s to the 1970s. Thereafter, the field lost its way with the rise of structuralism, neo-institutionalism, and rational choice approaches to the study of politics, government, and governance. Recently, however, students of politics have returned to studying the role of individual leaders and the exercise of leadership to explain political outcomes. The list of topics is nigh endless: elections, conflict management, public policy, government popularity, development, governance networks, and regional integration. In the media age, leaders are presented and stage-managed—spun—as the solution to almost every social problem. Through the mass media and the Internet, citizens and professional observers follow the rise, impact, and fall of senior political officeholders at closer quarters than ever before. This Handbook encapsulates the resurgence by asking, where are we today? It orders the multidisciplinary field by identifying the distinct and distinctive contributions of the disciplines. It meets the urgent need to take stock. It brings together scholars from around the world, encouraging a comparative perspective, to provide a comprehensive coverage of all the major disciplines, methods, and regions. It showcases both the normative and empirical traditions in political leadership studies, and juxtaposes behavioural, institutional, and interpretive approaches. It covers formal, office-based as well as informal, emergent political leadership, and in both democratic and undemocratic polities.


Thomas Paine

Author: Albert Marrin
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
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From National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a compelling look at the life and impact of Thomas Paine and the profound power of ideas. Uneducated as a boy, Thomas Paine grew up to become one of the most influential writers of the 18th century. He brought the world Common Sense, Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason; simply written, verbal battles against political, civil, and religious ignorance. Dubbed 'The Father of the American Revolution', Paine began his written reign by fervently proposing the idea of American independence from Great Britain, where he lived before emigrating to the United States in his thirties. As one historical event led to another, Paine continued to divulge his ideas to the public, risking his reputation and even his life. Award-winning author Albert Marrin illustrates the hardships and significance of a man's beliefs and its affects on our nation in a way that all ages can comprehend.