Friday, September 16, 2016

Book review: Modernity and its discontents by Steven Smith

Year published: 2016
Date I finished the book: September 16, 2016
Genre: History, philosophy
Rating:  B-

Review:  Dr. Smith is clearly an intelligent and very well-read man and an expert on what he talks about. However, this reads more like a collection of essays than a book. Nearly all of the book (except for a short introduction and a very short conclusion) consists of chapters about individual thinkers, from Machiavelli to Hegel, from Rousseau to Saul Bellow. Each chapter is fine; well written, informative and so on.

But, until we read the conclusion, it's not really clear what Smith's point is. Nor is it clear why he chose the writers that he did. Some are obvious: Machiavelli, Kant, Hobbes. But why Saul Bellow? Why and entire chapter on The Leopard?

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