Blamed for the bloody disasters of the 20th century: Auschwitz, the Gulags, globalisation, Islamic terrorism; heralded as the harbinger of reason, equality, and the end of arbitrary rule, the Enlightenment has been nothing if not divisive. To this day historians disagree over when it was, where it was, and what it was (and sometimes, still is). Kieron O'Hara deftly traverses these conflicts, presenting the history, politics, science, religion, arts, and social life of the Enlightenment not as a simple set of easily enumerated ideas, but an evolving conglomerate that spawned a very diverse set of thinkers, from the radical Rousseau to the conservative Burke.
Author Kieron O'Hara is Senior Research Fellow in the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group (IAM), in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. He is currently involved in the Office of Science and Technology's Cybertrust and Crime Prevention initiative. He is the author of two books in popular science and sociology: Plato and the Internet, and Trust: From Socrates to Spin. He also co-wrote the script for best-selling computer game Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation.
"This is an engaging and highly readable introduction to one of the most important intellectual developments in the history of western culture."
– Matthew Humphrey - Reader in Political Philosophy, University of Nottingham
"O'Hara provides readers with an introduction to the Enlightenment that is thorough without ever being forbidding and shows a keen appreciation of the dilemmas and controversies that surround the enlightened inheritance."
– Dan Hind - author of The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment Was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim
"Lively and erudite. This is an excellent and, for its length remarkably comprehensive, starting place for approaching the Enlightenment."
– Penny Fielding - Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of Edinburgh