Volume LIV Number 7-8
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Edmund Burke, by Dennis O’Keeffe; Continuum, 2010, 167 pages, £65.
Continuum’s “Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers” series continues with Dennis O’Keeffe’s excellent volume on Edmund Burke. Clearly, Burke, who insisted that “Liberty must be limited in order to be possessed”, was hardly a libertarian, but he is generally regarded as a major conservative thinker. Thus Robert Grant declared, “In some ways Burke is the greatest of all political thinkers” and ranked him even above Aristotle. Of course, Burke has had his detractors and O’Keeffe examines a number of “cases” against him—yet Burke is acquitted on every count. This book, however, is more than a vindication of Burke; it also offers new interpretation of his significance both as a man and as a thinker. O’Keeffe’s overall conclusion is that Burke is best described as a “Genial Olympian”—praise indeed.
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