The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

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Basic Books, Dec 3, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
23 Reviews
For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans.

Levin masterfully shows how Burke's and Paine's differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourse?on issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington's often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.

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Review: The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

User Review  - Jessica Johnson - Goodreads

The topic sounds interesting however the writing was too dense and pedantic. If you want a very serious scholarly read and can endure 200 pages of solid dense information, this is your book. If you want an educational but enjoyable read, I'd skip this one. Read full review

Review: The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

User Review  - The American Conservative - Goodreads

"Near the end of this extremely absorbing book, Levin frames a series of canonical questions. ... As Levin points out, the answers to these questions are not mere abstractions: on the contrary, they ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Yuval Levin is the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the founder and editor of National Affairs. A contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and National Review, he lives in Maryland.

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