Richard Bourke

How the West Was Won

The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters


Oxford University Press 436pp £20 order from our bookshop

Anthony Pagden’s ambitious new study sets out to reconstruct the core ‘project’ of the Enlightenment with a view to ascertaining its legacy. Its central claim is that this legacy has been momentous, bequeathing to modernity the central values of the West. The book concludes with a counterfactual account of what European history might have looked like if the Enlightenment had not occurred, painting a picture of an introverted, superstitious culture, reminiscent of the Ottomans in their decline.

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