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About the Author

Mark Lilla was born in Detroit in 1956. He is Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and a regular essayist for The New York Review of Books and other publications worldwide. His books include The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction (2016). The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the show more Modern West (2007), and G.B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modem (1994), as well as The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin (2001) with Ronald Dworkin and Robert B. Silvers. show less

Includes the name: Mark Lilla

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Works by Mark Lilla

Associated Works

Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man (1943) — Introduction, some editions — 472 copies
Confronting Tyranny: Ancient Lessons for Global Politics (2005) — Contributor — 12 copies
Political Theology for a Plural Age (2013) — Contributor — 7 copies


Common Knowledge



"Thought provoking" in a number of ways. Makes me reconsider or, in a somewhat embarrassingly large number of places, simply consider how religion, religious thought and conviction, as well as "political atheism" and modern "liberal non-theology/atheism" fit together, have evolved, etc.

I feel like this book, much more so than either [b:The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction|24783916|The Shipwrecked Mind On Political Reaction|Mark Lilla|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469413158s/24783916.jpg|44301227] or [b:The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics|422716|The Reckless Mind Intellectuals in Politics|Mark Lilla|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320440334s/422716.jpg|411823], fleshes out some of his worries and criticisms in [b:The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics|34323539|The Once and Future Liberal After Identity Politics|Mark Lilla|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1503305009s/34323539.jpg|55385176]. But I think I'd have to re-read all three of those, now, to… (more)
dcunning11235 | 6 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |
This is a hard book to rate. I resist giving it three stars even though four seems like it might be too many.

This is a super-brief political-social history of the "how we got to here," starting roughly in 1960, but with references to the 40's and 50's, the 1770's, etc. combined with an indictment of Identity Politics in general, but most specifically those of the modern "identity liberal." Then a short section of "we can't just rehash Rooseveltian liberalism" but "we need to make common purpose and citizenship the core of our discourse and liberal platform(s)," without any real specifics beyond that.

I'm sick and tired of identity politics, of politics as the personal, of politics as religion; of the reduction of all and everything to power and nothing more; of much or even all that Lilla is sick and tired (and angry and worried) about. But... I wonder if he gives identity liberalism and its practitioners/proponents too short shrift? He nods in the direction -multiple times- of there being real issues of racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ, etc. But he fails to connect those nods to what he is criticizing.

Much as we need to understand the real issues that are driving "Trump voters" are not all/only about racism, xenophobia, and general revanchism, that there are issues of equality, poverty, criminal justice, "vision" and the like that are completely open to "liberal" solutions, we also need to understand the issues that, to take an example Lilla calls out, BLM are driving forward and/or fueled by. Lilla fails to do that.

But maybe that isn't his role. He's in his sixties, after all, and "social justice warriors" are, broadly speaking, somewhere between their teens and their 30's. Maybe people from that "generation" (edges of X, Y, and Z) need to step up. I think that is happening, at least in some amount. I dunno, we'll see...

In any case, 3.5 stars for part of an important critique and not-quite counterproposal.
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dcunning11235 | 5 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |
I think I've found a new favorite thinker!

Published in 2001, this book seems perfectly timed for the 2016 election cycle (here in the US.) Having also just finished [b:The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction|24783916|The Shipwrecked Mind On Political Reaction|Mark Lilla|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469413158s/24783916.jpg|44301227], and having read a bit of e.g. Isaiah Berlin and his intellectual followers like John Gray, I'm now beginning to see some of these issues of intellectual history, development, and application (politics) from something like a rounded-ish perspective.

Think I need to go back and re-read some past books now... (oh, for more hours in the day!)
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dcunning11235 | 5 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |
This is a fairly amazing set of essays that I will re-read at least once, if not twice.
dcunning11235 | 4 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |



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