Book cover of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville by Olivier Zunz
Biography & Autobiography

The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville 

A definitive biography of the French aristocrat who became one of democracy’s greatest champions

In 1831, at the age of twenty-five, Alexis de Tocqueville made his fateful journey to America, where he observed the thrilling reality of a functioning democracy. From that moment onward, the French aristocrat would dedicate his life as a writer and politician to ending despotism in his country and bringing it into a new age. […Learn More]

Book cover of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco
Philosophy

College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be 

The strengths and failures of the American college, and why liberal education still matters

As the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a preprofessional credential. The traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Reopening of the Western Mind: The Resurgence of Intellectual Life from the End of Antiquity to the Dawn of the Enlightenment by Charles Freeman
Europe

The Reopening of the Western Mind: The Resurgence of Intellectual Life from the End of Antiquity to the Dawn of the Enlightenment

In this wide-ranging history, Freeman follows the immense intellectual development that culminated in the Enlightenment, from political ideology to philosophy and theology, as well as the fine arts and literature. He writes, in vivid detail, of how Europeans progressed from the Christian-minded thinking of Saint Augustine to the more open-minded later scholars, such as Michel de Montaigne, leading to a broader, more “humanist” way of thinking. […Learn More]

Book cover of On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson
Philosophy

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint

So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to our autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom’s long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with the term enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept’s complexities in four distinct realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Transcendentalists and Their World by Robert A. Gross
History

The Transcendentalists and Their World

In the year of the nation’s bicentennial, Robert A. Gross published The Minutemen and Their World, a paradigm-shaping study of Concord, Massachusetts, during the American Revolution. It won the prestigious Bancroft Prize and became a perennial bestseller. Forty years later, in this highly anticipated work, Gross returns to Concord and explores the meaning of an equally crucial moment in the American story: the rise of Transcendentalism. […Learn More]

Book cover of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World by Leif Wenar
Business & Money

Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World

Natural resources like oil and minerals are the largest source of unaccountable power in the world. Petrocrats like Putin and the Saudis spend resource money on weapons and oppression; militants in Iraq and in the Congo spend resource money on radicalization and ammunition. Resource-fueled authoritarians and extremists present endless crises to the West-and the source of their resource power is ultimately ordinary consumers, doing their everyday shopping at the gas station and the mall. […Learn More]

Book cover of How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy by Julian Baggini
History

How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

In this groundbreaking global overview of philosophy, Julian Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought.

One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. What we call ‘philosophy’ in the West is not even half the story. […Learn More]

Book cover of When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves by Steven M. Nadler
Health and Psychology

When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves

Why the tools of philosophy offer a powerful antidote to today’s epidemic of irrationality

There is an epidemic of bad thinking in the world today. An alarming number of people are embracing crazy, even dangerous ideas. They believe that vaccinations cause autism. They reject the scientific consensus on climate change as a “hoax.” And they blame the spread of COVID-19 on the 5G network or a Chinese cabal. Worse, bad thinking drives bad acting—it even inspired a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol. […Learn More]