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Elshtain (social & political ethics, Univ. of Chicago; Just War Against Terror) deals here with the origins and development of our current concept of political and personal sovereignty, tracing its history from Augustine to Nietzsche and noting the move toward absolute autonomy of the state and the individual. According to Elshtain, even individual sovereignty becomes tyranny without relationships and community. We are created to love and that puts a limit on our sovereignty, she writes; "if we refuse to observe a limit, we are destroyers." Elshtain reexamines the relevant writings of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and many others in light of her philosophical analysis. She also applies her insight to postmodernism, radical feminism, and other modern movements, showing in her approach a deep knowledge of her subject matter. An excellent scholarly, philosophical analysis of a difficult concept that Elshtain makes surprisingly accessible to readers outside her field; recommended primarily for academic and large public libraries.
—C. Robert Nixon