The first major reassessment of the Western Enlightenment for a generation. Continuing the story he began in Radical Enlightenment, Jonathan Israel now focuses on the first half of the eighteenth century. He traces to their roots the core principles of Western modernity: the primacy of reason, democracy, racial equality, feminism, religious toleration, sexual emancipation, and freedom of expression
The core ideas of this book deserve to be widely disseminated and debated.
`Review from previous edition Enter Jonathan Israel. His vast - and vastly impressive - book sets out to redefine the intellectual landscape of early modern Europe. The stupendous scale of this book ranges from London to Moscow, Stockholm to Naples, in a virtuoso display of polyglot learning . . . Magnificent and magisterial, Radical Enlightenment will undoubtedly be one of the truly great historical works of the decade.' John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph
`There is much to praise in Israel's majestic account of the Enlightenment and his detective work in placing Spinoza at the heart of it.' A.C. Grayling, FT Weekend
`The scholarship is breathtaking. Israel has read everything, absorbed every nuance, followed up every byway ... Five years from now, our views of the Enlightenment will have been enormously influenced by Israel.' Peter Watson, New Statesman
`Deserves to be widely read because it is an example of ground-breaking vastly well-informed and thoroughly new history' David Horspool, The Guardian