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Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Gertrude Himmelfarb

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Author: Gertrude Himmelfarb
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
1 review about Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics

In The Mind Of A Great Historian

  • Jul 26, 2004
Lord Acton, (1834-1902), was among the most illustrious historians of nineteenth century England. "He knew everyone worth knowing and read everything worth reading". He had a deep devotion to individual freedom and a profound understanding of history. He never published a book, which is a great shame. His enormous reputation is based on essays, notes and lectures he gave at Cambridge University as Regius professor starting in 1894. Acton's political thought came into vogue only after WWI when people tired of nationalism and started probing spirituality more. He went through life a liberal Catholic decrying the fact that he could find no one who could live up to his Catholic ethical standards. A great believer in the gift of liberty the American Revolution gave to the world and ranted against the evil destruction the French Revolution brought to the French people. "Acton explained his theory of history as essentially the history of ideas". I think quotes like that pretty much sum up the prescient genius Acton shows.

As a retired Army officer and student of political philosophy, I found this book a splendid collection of essays by an eminent historian written for anyone who wants to understand the history of freedom through the ages. I also recommend Acton's "Lectures On Modern History" and Acton's "Essays on Freedom And Power"

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