The Vital Center (Large Print): The Politics of Freedom

Overview

The Vital Center is an eloquent and incisive defense of liberal democracy against its rivals to the left and to the right, communism and fascism. Originally published in 1949, it shows how the failures of free society led to the disenchantment of the masses with democracy, and sharpened the appeal of totalitarian solutions. The book calls for a radical reconstruction of the democratic polity based on a realistic understanding of human limitations and frailties.

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Overview

The Vital Center is an eloquent and incisive defense of liberal democracy against its rivals to the left and to the right, communism and fascism. Originally published in 1949, it shows how the failures of free society led to the disenchantment of the masses with democracy, and sharpened the appeal of totalitarian solutions. The book calls for a radical reconstruction of the democratic polity based on a realistic understanding of human limitations and frailties.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Schlesinger solidified his position as the spokesman for postwar liberalism with his book The Vital Center. Inspired by the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, he argued that pragmatic, reform-minded liberalism, limited in scope, was the best that man could hope for politically.”

The New York Times

"The Vital Center presents a searching analysis of contemporary American and world politics in the midst of rivalries between democratic liberalism and the proselyting sweeps of communism and fascism. By cutting through evolving fears and confusion at home and abroad, it endeavors to arouse democratic faith with a new passion for impending conflicts. . . . A rare contribution to current political thought."

—W. M. Brewer, Journal of Negro History

"Thoughtful and thought-provoking study of 'the politics of freedom.'"

—Lois K. M. Rosenberry, Wisconsin Magazine of History

"In this stimulating book one of the leading American historians of the younger generation takes stock of the 'failure' of the right and the left in American politics. . . . This is a book which can be read with profit by all who would understand the 'politics of freedom.'"

—Clifton J. Child, International Affairs

"American lawyers—those who believe that freedom, the core of law, must protect equally rich and poor, right and left, white and black—will find in The Vital Center a brilliant analysis of the forces that threaten freedom and the struggle that must be waged in its defense if democracy is to survive."

—Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Harvard Law Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412855631
  • Publisher: Transaction Large Print
  • Publication date: 10/31/2014
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 235

Meet the Author

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) was Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. His work explored the liberalism of political leaders, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy and popularized the term imperial presidency. He is the author of numerous books, including War and the American Presidency, The Vital Center, The Age of Jackson, andA Thousand Days.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) was Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. His work explored the liberalism of political leaders, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy and popularized the term imperial presidency. He is the author of numerous books, including War and the American Presidency, The Vital Center, The Age of Jackson, andA Thousand Days.

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