In this fascinating book, Ferdinand Mount delves into the lives and theories of twelve great political thinkers, from Pericles, the maker of ancient Athens, to Muhammad Iqbal, the inspiration behind the founding of Pakistan. We take an exhilarating ride through their extraordinary careers, feeling their irresistible charm and eloquence, but we are also brought face to face with the crippling gaps and flaws in their thought and the damage it left behind. We see, too, how often the great political fighters like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft and Karl Marx are the most vicious and acute critics of each other, while remaining blind to their own defects. The author argues against the single-mindedness of these figures and instead proposes an alternative tradition recognizing that our dearest principles often conflict with each other and that societies survive by trade-our.
Prime Movers offers an uninhibited challenge to the way political theory is usually presented. It displays a huge sweep and erudition borne of Ferdinand Mount’s long experience as a political writer and policy analyst, as well as delectable anecdotes and refreshing humour along the way. The great landmarks of Left and Right will never look quite the same again.