The Roads to Modernity by Gertrude Himmelfarb
The British, French, and American Enlightenments

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



In an elegant, eminently readable work, one of our most distinguished intellectual historians gives us a brilliant revisionist history. The Roads to Modernity reclaims the Enlightenment–an extraordinary time bursting with new ideas about human nature, politics, society, and religion--from historians who have downgraded its importance and from scholars who have given preeminence to the Enlightenment in France over concurrent movements in England and America.Contrasting the Enlightenments in the three nations, Himmelfarb demonstrates the primacy and wisdom of the British, exemplified in such thinkers as Adam Smith, David Hume, and Edmund Burke, as well as the unique and enduring contributions of the American Founders. It is their Enlightenments, she argues, that created a social ethic–humane, compassionate, and realistic–that still resonates strongly today, in America perhaps even more than in Europe.The Roads to Modernity is a remarkable and illuminating contribution to the history of ideas.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Gertrude Himmelfarb

See more books from this Author
Gertrude Himmelfarb taught for twenty-three years at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York, where she was named Distinguished Professor of History in 1978. Now Professor Emeritus, she lives with her husband, Irving Kristol, in Washington, D.C. Her previous books include The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values; On Looking into the Abyss: Untimely Thoughts on Culture and Society; Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians; The New History and the Old; Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians; The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age; On Liberty and Liberalism: The Case of John Stuart Mill; Victorian Minds (nominated for a National Book Award); Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution; and Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics.From the Hardcover edition.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 306 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Roads to Modernity

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

And then there are the insidious postmodernists, who, even though they’re sort of French themselves, have announced that inasmuch as slavery, war, and other evils persisted even as the philosophes converted good men and women to their cause, there is no need to pay any attention to “the Enlighten...

| Read Full Review of The Roads to Modernity: The B...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

N 1995, William Kristol published a manifesto-like essay called ''The Politics of Liberty, the Sociology of Virtue'' -- reprinted, the following year, as the final chapter of ''The Essential Neoconservative Reader.'' It was a heady time for the American right.

Oct 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Roads to Modernity: The B...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The Roads to Modernity by Gertrude Himmelfarb Vintage £8.99, pp304 The roads to modernity is an intelligent history of the Enlightenments in Britain, France and America that masks a contemporary political manifesto.

Mar 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Roads to Modernity: The B...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Himmelfarb, a leading neoconservative historian of ideas (One Nation, Two Cultures , etc.), takes on the ambitious project of reclaiming the Enlightenment from what she sees as delusionary French thinkers and restoring it to the (apparently) virtuous moderation of the English.

| Read Full Review of The Roads to Modernity: The B...

Bookmarks Magazine

Adam Kirsch San Francisco Chronicle 3.5 of 5 Stars "While there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about a right-wing intellectual admiring Burke and Smith while denigrating the French, Himmelfarb has written a keenly argued and thought-provoking intellectual history of the 18th century."

Oct 10 2007 | Read Full Review of The Roads to Modernity: The B...

Reader Rating for The Roads to Modernity

An aggregated and normalized score based on 15 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review