The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke

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Overview


Statesman, political thinker, orator, and ardent campaigner, Edmund Burke was one of the most brilliant figures of the eighteenth century. This unorthodox biography focuses on Burke's thoughts, responses, and actions to the great events and debates surrounding Britain's tumultuous relationships with her three colonies—America, Ireland, and India—and archrival France.

"In bringing Burke to our attention, Mr. O'Brien has brought back a lost treasure. The Great Melody is a brilliant work of narrative sweep and analytical depth. Conor Cruise O'Brien on Edmund Burke is a literary gift to political thought."—John Patrick Diggins, New York Times Book Review

"Serious readers of history are in for a treat: a book by the greatest living Irishman on the greatest Irishman who ever lived. . . . O'Brien's study is not merely a reconstruction of a fascinating man and period. It is also a tract for the times. . . . I cannot remember another time when I finished a book of more than 600 pages wishing it were longer."—Paul Johnson, The Independent

"The Great Melody combines superb biography and fascinating history with a profound understanding of political philosophy."—Former President Richard Nixon

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Takes its title from two lines by W.B. Yeats: "American colonies, Ireland, France and India / Harried, and Burke's great melody against it." An unorthodox biography of the 18th-century father of modern conservatism, by scholar, statesman, and author O'Brien, who has studied Burke for over a quarter of a century. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Alan Massie
One returns time and again to Burke: Now one will also return to O'Brien on Burke. There could be no higher praise.
Daily Telegraph
Harvey C. Mansfield,Jr.
The publication of The Great Melody is an event not just in the small circle of Edmund Burke scholarship, but also in the larger community of historians. Still more, and above all, it is a gift to anyone who wants to understand politics. Conor Cruise O'Brien… has produced a "thematic biography" of Burke the statesman that is worthy of its great subject. O'Brien would wish for no higher praise, and he deserves it first of all because he has made it possible. With his book he has restored Burke's reputation for our time.
New Criterion
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226616513
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 692
  • Sales rank: 1,064,428
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917-2008) was a leading Irish intellectual of his generation and had a distinguished career in public life as a diplomat, politician, government minister, writer, newspaper editor, critic, and scholar. He published numerous books in subjects such as history, biography, politics, and religion.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Notes on Sources
Preface
Introduction
Ireland 1719-1780 1
American Colonies 1765-1778 87
American Colonies, Ireland 1778-1783 173
India 1767-1790 255
France 1789-1791 385
France, Ireland, India 1791-1797 459
Epilogue 593
Appendix 605
General Index 619
Thematic Index 681
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2006

    A very important biography

    The people who died before 1992 missed out on a very important biography. How lucky we are to be able to read such a book. This book motivated me to read several writings by Edmund Burke. His 'Sublime and Beautiful' is still pertinent to present times.

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