Embracing the web of multiculturalism that has become a fact of contemporary life from New York to New Delhi, Eco argues that we are more connected to people of other traditions and customs than ever before, making tolerance the ultimate value in today's world. What good, he asks in a talk delivered during the Gulf War, does war do in a world where the flow of goods, services, and information is unstoppable and the enemy is always behind the lines? What makes news today, who decides how it will be presented, and how does the way it is disseminated contribute to the widespread disillusionment with politics in general?
In the most personal of the essays, Eco recalls experiencing liberation from fascism in Italy as a boy, and examines the various historical forms of fascism, always with an eye toward such ugly manifestations today. And finally, in an intensely personal open letter to an Italian cardinal, Eco reflects on a question underlying all the reflections in the book: What does it mean to be moral or ethical when one doesn't believe in God?
Thoughtful and subtle as well as pragmatic and relevant, these essays present one of the world's most important thinkers at the height of his critical powers.