This famous treatise began as a letter to a young French friend who asked Edmund Burke's opinion on whether France's new ruling class would succeed in creating a better order. Doubtless the friend expected a favorable reply, but Burke was suspicious of certain tendencies of the Revolution from the start and perceived that the revolutionaries were actually subverting the true "social order". As a Christian - he was not a man of the Enlightenment - Burke knew religion to be man's greatest good and established order to be a fundamental pillar of civilization.
Blending history with principle and graceful imagery with profound practical maxims, this book is one of the most influential political treatises in the history of the world. Said Russell Kirk, "The Reflections must be read by anyone who wishes to understand the great controversies of modern politics."
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) became a member of Parliament in 1765. He championed the unpopular cause of Catholic emancipation and a great part of his career became dedicated to the problem of India. The French Revolution prompted one of his best-known works, Reflections on the Revolution in France.
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"Burke's views are as pertinent today as they were 200 years ago. His comments and criticisms of the French Revolution can be applied to 20th-century revolutions. It is interesting that his reflections are echoed by so many revisionist French Revolution historians in the past several years." (Professor Jeanne A. Ojala, University of Utah)
Edmund Burke was an 18th century politician and philosopher and his most famous book is "Reflections on the Revolution in France". While many of the politicians and philosophers around Burke praised the French revolution, Burke condemned it in this book. The French revolutionaries were largely composed of people who had abstract ideas about the way people ought to behave that they were willing to impose by force and destroy the rule of law in the process. The regime they were throwing out was not tyrannical, rather the king was willing to make reforms. Burke was largely correct in his assessment and makes this argument at great length with great eloquence. Burke was condemned as a reactionary by many despite the fact that he had helped to bring about many liberal reforms and pursued the impeachement of Warren Hastings, the tyrranical head of the East India company. Apparently being willing to sanction violence and the destruction of the rule of law is required to be an enlightened political thinker. It is worth your while to listen to the book if you are interested in political philosophy or the French revolution.
Bernard Mayes reads the book clearly and with good emphasis.
"A good historical perspective"
In our times, we have developed a way of thinking about the past that is unique to ourselves and our time. As I listen to Edmund Burke's ideas and words, one gains an insight of how people thought about the events in France in that time.
One also gains a perspective of how a person thinks about the times as he sees the problems develop after a revolution. We have seen issues like this when one fights and wins a war, but does not know how to win the peace. We have recently seen revolutions that do not know how to build a new government.
Edmund Burke's book helps us know we humans have not progressed much in our thinking in over 200 years. We are still the same set of creatures as then. It is good to review such histories and momentous occasions. We have more technical solutions, but we have no solutions for the hearts and minds of populations.
The story is well read. The perspective can make you angry at times or sad at times. This is what a good book should do. I hope you enjoy it as well.
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