Penguin Book

On Politics

Alan Ryan

Three decades in the making, one of the most ambitious and comprehensive histories of political philosophy in nearly a century.

Both a history and an examination of human thought and behaviour spanning three thousand years, On Politics traces the origins of political philosophy from the ancient Greeks to Machiavelli and from Hobbes to the present age.

Whether examining Lord Acton's dictum that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" or explicating John Stuart Mill's contention that it is "better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied," Alan Ryan evokes the lives and minds of our greatest thinkers in a way that makes reading about them a transcendent experience. Whether writing about Plato or Augustine, de Tocqueville or Thomas Jefferson, Ryan brings a wisdom to his text that illuminates John Dewey's belief that the role of philosophy is less to see truth than to enhance experience. With this unparalleled tour de force, Ryan emerges in his own right as one of the most influential political philosophers of our time.

Alan Ryan, the former warden of New College, Oxford, has taught political theory at Oxford and Princeton since 1969. His books include The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell: A Political Life and Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education.

Publication date
  • History
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Politics and Current Affairs
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Alan Ryan
Alan Ryan
Alan Ryan
Alan Ryan
Audio (Unabridged)
Alan Ryan
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