Isaiah Berlin was witness to a century. Born in the twilight of the Czarist empire, he lived long enough to see the Soviet state collapse.
The son of a Riga timber merchant and the first Jew elected to a fellowship at All Souls, Oxford, he was a historian of Russian intelligentsia, biographer of Marx, scholar of the Romantic movement, and defender of the liberal idea of freedom against Soviet tyranny.
In this definitive biography, a remarkable ten-year collaboration between biographer and subject, Michael Ignatieff charts the emergence of a unique liberal temperament--serene, comic, secular, and unafraid--while examining its influence on Berlin's vision of liberalism, which stressed the often tragic nature of political and moral choice.
A masterful work, illuminating, and beautifully written, Isaiah Berlin: A Life is destined to take its place among the great modern biographies.
"Michael Ignatieff has written a brilliant, tender, and insightful biography of this complex, important, and influential thinker."--The Globe and Mail
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ISAIAH BERLIN: A LifeUser Review - Kirkus
A polished life of the century's preeminent liberal (in the classic sense) philosopher. Just as Berlin's critics complained he never wrote a single-volume magnum opus but only essays, Berlin's friends ... Read full review
Isaiah Berlin: a lifeUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Ignatieff (The Warrior's Honor, LJ 1/98) met and conferred with Berlin periodically over a ten-year period until Berlin's death at the age of 88 in 1997. He also spent hours talking to Berlin's wife ... Read full review