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Download Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World, by James MacGregor Burns, Norman Dietz Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James MacGregor Burns, Norman Dietz Narrator: Norman Diet Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and productive intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment.

In this engaging history, James MacGregor Burns brings to vivid life the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, during which audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, bringing down governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments that would ultimately reach every corner of the globe. Unlike most historians, Burns pays particular attention to America’s intellectual revolution, beginning and ending his story on American soil. He discovers the origins of our domestic enlightenment in men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality, and he highlights the role of thinkers like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. After all, it was the American founders, alone among Enlightenment thinkers, who actually carried through with their ideas.

Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the blossoming Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, China, and in the United States. What should a nation be? What should a citizenry expect from its government? Who should lead and decide? How can citizens effect change? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns’ exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our nation shines a new light on these ever-important questions.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "Fire and Light is the elegiac capstone to a career devoted to understanding the seminal ideas that made America—for better and for worse—what it is.

    Joseph J. Ellis, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A superb work of synthesis.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Norman Dietz has a likable voice and a fluid style.”


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About the Author

James MacGregor Burns, political scientist and author, is a senior scholar at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and professor emeritus at Williams College. He is the author of numerous books on leadership, including Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 and the National Book Award.