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Against The Flow - Samuel Brittan's new book

Against The FlowAgainst The Flow: Reflections of an Individualist is a new collection of essays by Samuel Brittan. It is published by Atlantic Books for £25 - ISBN 184354377X.

Order a copy through Amazon.co.uk in hardback or paperback.

Publisher's description

Samuel Brittan has been one of the Financial Times' leading columnists for nearly thirty years. He has also advised numerous Chancellors of the Exchequer on economic policy. Against the Flow collects the most important of these writings from the last three decades. Brittan has established a reputation for elegance of expression, trenchant analysis and tremendous range of reference. All three qualities are powerfully apparent in this collection as he ranges over the arms trade and US military (which he opposes); the expansion of free markets and a basic income for all (which he supports), as wall as the war on terror. The book also includes his pungent portraits of some heroes and villans, including Keynes, Milton Friedman and Rand. Taken together the pieces in Against the Flow amount to a robust defence of classic liberalism.

Reviews

The Economist

One of a kind: Samuel Brittan's peerless commentary
04/03/05
Sir Samuel's journalism does not age. This book is so good that rivals in the field will, like this reviewer, put it down not knowing whether to feel inspiration or despair...“Against the Flow” is the work of a remarkable journalist, a scholar and a profound thinker. Read it.

The Financial Times

Essay: Left, right, left
By Peter Jay 12/02/05
Brittan’s true natural political reflexes are vividly exhibited in his new book, Against the Flow: "Two kinds of anti-individualists come together in their advocacy of a year or two of compulsory national service to knock some patriotism and civil virtue into the American young... Another tell-tale symptom is propaganda for so-called Asian values and admiration for the Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, who justifies his brutal punishments by saying ‘To us in Asia, an individual is an ant.’" Brittan asks, are British Conservatives any more tolerant?…
It is typical that in the new volume Brittan is challenging the conventional wisdom of current economic management with as much freshness and recalcitrance as he once applied to the dismal agonies of Chancellors such as Selwyn Lloyd and Tony Barber. Only missing now is the intense official disapproval that attended his refusal 40 years ago to accept that £1 did, should, must always and most certainly would always equal $2.80, since when its market price has fluctuated between $2.81 and just over $1.

A rational sceptic who is always his own man
By Robert Skidelsky 09/02/05
This compilation of his Financial Times columns, occasional essays and reviews is a splendid introduction to the UK's foremost analyst of current affairs. Brittan's writing is marked by wide reading and a curiosity that eschews disciplinary boundaries. He stands out not just as a "translator" of others' thoughts, like any good columnist, but by virtue of his own fine critical intelligence. He is always his own man. By training an economist who specialised in macroeconomics, he has become increasingly bored with narrow technical issues and has moved on to "ideas", which he discusses with enviable economy and elegance.

The Sunday Telegraph

Brittan Stays in Europe
By Nigel Lawson 01/02/05
This is a book that no educated observer of the contemporary scene should fail to read. Indeed it is worth buying for the excellent penultimate section alone: a series of brief biographical essays on Keynes, Milton Friedman, Hayek, Ayn Rand (for whom I cannot quite share Brittan's high regard), Norman Angell, and Bertrand Russell. (Fortunately, there is no essay on the political philosopher John Rawls, surely one of the most overrated intellectual reputations of our time, for whom elsewhere in this book Brittan evinces a wholly misplaced respect.)
In the course of his essay on Russell, Brittan defends Russell's best-selling (and thus academically deplored) History of Western Philosophy, adding "I wish somebody would write anything as irreverent, but as informed, on political economy". Clearly, that somebody should be Brittan himself.

The Adam Smith Institute Blog

Why be interested in Ayn Rand?
By Dr Eamonn Butler 28/01/05
Sir Samuel Brittan's new book, Against the Flow, is a splendid collection of insightful short essays on international affairs, political economy, and modern thinkers.

The Liberty Cadre

Sir Samuel’s greatest hits (according to him)
Andrew Ian Dodge 1/24/05
Despite his protestations to the contrary in the Preface, this book is eminently readable at the one go. Sir Samuel has a flowing style of writing that never gets bogged down or turgid. In fact, this collection of selected past pieces blends itself into a wonderful collection from the learned former Financial Times journalist. Whether refering to the Holocaust, the post-9/11 world, Hayek, or deep economic theory, his style allows access for all.

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