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Lead book review

A.C. Grayling reduces history to a game of quidditch

In The Age of Genius, he awards the 17th and 21st centuries top marks for intellectual progress. But will terrorism relegate our present to also-played?

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

The Age of Genius: The 17th Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind A.C. Grayling

Bloomsbury, pp.351, £25, ISBN: 9780747599425

It is very difficult to uncover accurate connections between ideas and events in history. A.C. Grayling is a philosopher and polemicist with a particular story to tell about the rise of freedom in the 17th century. In the introduction to his new book he writes:

I hope the sketches offered here will illustrate the claim that the 17th century is truly the moment that history changed course so profoundly that everything before it is another world, and that it and the times since are our world.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £25 Tel: 08430 600033. Ruth Scurr is the author, most recently, of John Aubrey: My Own Life.

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