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The Portable Edmund Burke Paperback – Jul 1 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; unknown edition (July 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140267603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140267600
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #295,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College. A lifelong member of Parliament, Burke was the author of A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, A Vindication of Natural Society, and Reflections on the Revolution in France.
Isaac Kramnick was born in 1938 and educated at Harvard University, where he received a B.A. degree in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1965, and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, Yale and Cornell, where he is now Professor of Government. He is married to Miriam Brody Kramnick and lives in Ithaca, New York. Among his publications are Bolingbroke and His Circle, The Rage of Edmund Burke and numerous articles on eighteenth century topics. He has edited William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay and, with Michael Foot, The Thomas Paine Reader for the Penguin Classics. Most recently he is the author, with Barry Sheerman, MP, of Laski: A Lift on the Left.

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Format: Paperback
Presenting Edmund Burke thematically is perhaps the only way to really approach Burke, as Conor Cruise O'Brien or Russell Kirk (Burke's best biographers) would probably agree. So unlike 'On Empire, Liberty, and Reform,' which is chronological, the portable Edmund Burke instead tackles Burke under the themes of America, Ireland, India, and the French Revolution, and a couple other sub-themes, with invaluable commentary. By the end of the book, Burke is better enveloped here than in most biographies, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f969450) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f982f84) out of 5 stars Broad but emasculated coverage Dec 6 2007
By Martin H. Ambuhl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"The Portable Edmund Burke" is useful in supplying a number of pieces not otherwise easily obtainable. It, like most books in the Viking Portable Library series, is missing the notes and especially the index that many people would have found useful. To make room for the 47 selections, several have been severely abridged. "Reflections on the Revolution is France" is whittled to leave only about 30% of it. Anyone needing this should look to a full-length treatment. Good ones include the Yale edition of Frank M. Turner, which has an excellent index, occasional notes, and several first-class essas; and Oxford World's Classic edition of L.G. Mitchell, which also has a helpful index and good notes. The speech on conciliation with America is similar chopped to a mere shadow of itself. The Lamont edition is not easily obtainable, which is a pity, but the notes and index of the Cambridge edition of Ian Harris will do well enough for most students. 'A Vindication of Natural Society' survives better (about half of it survives in this edition), but again the Harris edition is a better choice.

If you want a wide picture of Burke's writing, this text is probably for you. If you want to read any of his important texts, then choose something else.
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f982fd8) out of 5 stars Amputated rather than edited... May 11 2006
By Edmund More - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Burke's most important work "Reflections on the Revolution in France" is reduced from nearly 200 pages to 60 pages in this volume. Yet nowhere in the book does the editor describe what he selected or what he dropped, or the basis for his decisions.

Comparing my copy of "Reflections.." to this chopped version I found that Kramnick had dropped passages that were highly insightful.

When I discovered this, I could no longer be confident that the other works were not similarly mangled. I will now search for an anthology of works that is more respectful of the originals (or at least one where the editor is more open about his approach).
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f98442c) out of 5 stars Thematic is best Jan. 23 2002
By Jared J. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Presenting Edmund Burke thematically is perhaps the only way to really approach Burke, as Conor Cruise O'Brien or Russell Kirk (Burke's best biographers) would probably agree. So unlike `On Empire, Liberty, and Reform,' which is chronological, the portable Edmund Burke instead tackles Burke under the themes of America, Ireland, India, and the French Revolution, and a couple other sub-themes, with invaluable commentary. By the end of the book, Burke is better enveloped here than in most biographies, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9847ec) out of 5 stars Not meant to be All The Burke You'll Ever Need Oct. 18 2008
By A. Lowry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I think the 2-star reviewers are missing the point; the "Reflections" are widely available, whereas much of the best of Burke is found in shorter texts that are harder to find. One would expect the editors to favor those texts instead of providing yet another full text of a book that any Burke reader should already have.

(That said, one also suspects that Penguin wants to keep selling its edition of the full "Reflections" ....)

Whatever its faults, there's really no alternative to this volume for the common reader.
HASH(0x9f9848d0) out of 5 stars Like reading the Laws without the Mishnah May 20 2016
By Marco Buendia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Read the professor's Introduction to Burke, not quite thirty pages. Worth the time, probably more so than his book on Burke, which is all about Burke's troubled psyche, as Professor Kramnick saw it. Too much of a good thing becoming a tiresome thing.

To re-iterate the faults of this book, as other reviewers have seen them:

1) Not all the stuff here suffers abridgement well. Anyone interested in Burke would want to read such texts as his diatribe on the French Revolution, but it would be best to read it in its entirety. It might have been better to stick to shorter pieces and summarize the major works.

2) Many of us would not want to admit it, but most of us need notes to understand Burke as well as we would like to. ***No notes***.

It might be better to go all the way over to Conor Cruise O'Brien's biography cum anthology, "the Great Melody". Sometimes this kind of fabulous animal is actually more useful than a biography or anthology alone. Try, for instance, Jonathan Cott's "Wandering ghost", a bio of Lafcadio Hearn that started out as an anthology.

Note: Hamazon wouldn't let me post the review without answering at least the first question here. I picked "full of surprises". I don't know how that will affect the review.

How would you describe the plot of this book?

Predictable
Some twists
Full of surprises

Posted.
Which of these words best describes the mood?
Hopeful Dark Nostalgic Light-hearted Suspenseful Thoughtful

How would you describe the pace?
Slow SteadyFast

How would you describe the characters?

One-dimensional Developed Complex


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