Prime Movers: From Pericles to Gandhi
Simon and Schuster
Needless to say that each of us would have a list of what we would deem to be influential thinkers.
Ferdinant Mount zeros in on his top twelve political thinker and does it with an accuracy and clarity that makes it a joy to read: Pericles, Jesus, Rousseau, Smith, Burke, Jefferson, Bentham, Wollstonecraft, Mazzini, Marx, Gandhi and Iqbal are shed light on en detail and not merely praised but analysed with at times surgical precision that does not spare the objectionable parts – be it Karl Marx’ shortcomings when it comes to clearly articulating a theoretical construct that labourers could turn into reality and his racists views shared with Engels, Jefferson’ s inability to overcome slavery, Rousseau’s deficits regarding thinking through the consequences of his emissions and so forth.
Mount manages to question what has been blindly accepted to be gospel in the mainstream canon of knighted luminaries – be it in terms of lacking accuracy, not considering the implications of their preachings or the fact that only parts of their respective oeuvre were highlighted which led to them being elevated to a status the totality of their deeds would not warrant.
The specifically interesting parts pertain to thinkers who are held in high esteem for their boundary pushing ideas while merely having theoretical knowledge of the subjects of their treatises, e.g. celibates talking about free sexual relations or the abusive Gandhi harping on about love and being adamant about India having to return to village life despite having always been a big city dweller.
While some of Mount’s elaborations do not exactly present new revelations, I would recommend this tome to anyone looking for food of thought and ideas to challenge the status quo and established perceptions.
To err is human and Prime Movers is an example par excellence and a reminder in book form that the perceived spearheads and thought leaders of humanity are often equally as flawed as the common man, yet have shaped the world we live in.
An intriguing and illuminating efficiently written and inspiring read.
Water of Life - Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky For anyone following our Water of Life series, the fact that I harbour a weak spot for anything that ... read more
Monocle – Book of Japan Thames and Hudson Tyler Brûlé and his brainchild Monocle have had an intensive relationship with Japan ever since the inception of the magazine – ... read more
Motown: The Sound of Young America Thames & Hudson For the uninitiated – 2020 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Motown Records and everything surrounding it not only dominated the ... read more
Nicole Hartje-Grave Von Max Ernst bis Eduardo Chillida - Die Sammlung Wilfried und Gisela Fitting Wienand Verlag Ever since I was first exposed to Max Ernst as a teenager, ... read more
Endurance Louis Rudd Pan Macmillan As we go by Lord Byron, prolonged endurance tames the bold but there are some individuals who have perfectioned the art of concentrating patience ... read more
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.