Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life by Nicholas Phillipson - review by Leslie Mitchell

Leslie Mitchell

Homo Economics

Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 346pp £25 order from our bookshop

For some the process of dying offers a welcome opportunity to obliterate the past. Adam Smith insisted that all his private papers should be destroyed, and personally supervised the conflagration that consumed them. It was his dearest wish that he should be known exclusively from what he had left behind on the printed page.

None of this is very helpful to a future biographer, but then Smith was someone who preferred a quiet life. An academic by trade and a bachelor who relied on the care offered by female relations, he was not made for the limelight. As one of his earliest

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