Spectrum: From Left to Right in the World of Ideas

Spectrum: From Left to Right in the World of Ideas, by Perry Anderson. In today's drastic reconfiguration of the world of ideas, how best should we treat its leading forces? Spectrum offers a critical survey of the work of key conservative, liberal and socialist thinkers, rarely considered in the same optic. The book opens with a comparative examination of four remarkable minds of the radical right: Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt, and the theoretical and biographical parallels between their conceptions of liberty. In the liberal and social-democratic center, it looks at John Rawls's concepts of domestic consensus and international law, and the trajectory of Norberto Bobbio. On the Marxist left, it assesses the work of three major historians: E. P. Thompson, Robert Brenner and Eric Hobsbawm, and a great philologist, Sebastiano Timpanaro. Each is considered against the historical background—institutional as well as intellectual—that set the context of their thought. Also considered is the impact of the most widely read periodicals that deal with ideas today, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books. Perry Anderson is the author of Lineages of the Absolutist State, A Zone of Engagement and The Origins of Postmodernity. He teaches history at UCLA.