Liberalism at Large
The World According to the Economist
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Hardback with free ebook
$34.95$13.9860% off
544 pages / November 2019 / 9781781686249
November 2019 / 9781781686256
Paperback with free ebook
$24.95$17.4630% off
544 pages / March 2021 / 9781788739627

Path-breaking history of modern liberalism told through the pages of one of its most zealous supporters.

Since 1843, the Economist has been the single most devoted and  influential champion of liberalism anywhere in the world. But what  exactly is liberalism, and how has the liberal message evolved? Liberalism at Large  presents a history of liberalism on the move, confronting the  challenges that classical doctrine left unresolved: the rise of  democracy, the expansion of empire, the ascendancy of finance. Today,  neither economic crisis at home, nor permanent warfare abroad, has  dimmed the Economist’s belief in unfettered markets, limited  government and a free hand for the West. Confidante to the powerful,  emissary for the financial sector, portal onto international affairs,  the bestselling news weekly shapes the world its readers—and the rest of  us—inhabit. This is the first critical biography of one of the  architects of a liberal world order now under increasing strain.


“The Economist has vigorously claimed to be advancing the liberal cause since its founding. Zevin takes it at its word, telling the story not only of the magazine itself but also of its impact on world affairs. Having evidently mastered the magazine’s archives, he commands a deep knowledge of its inner workings. The Economist emerges as a force that—thanks to the military, cultural and economic power of Britain and, later, America—can truly be said to have made the modern world, if not in the way that many liberals would suppose.”

“A singular work of history whose great strength is in the originality of its conceit. By recounting the intellectual biography of a single publication, Zevin is able to show how the Economist has offered a near-unbroken record of the ‘dominant stream’ of liberal thought. Drawing on a mass of archival research and interviews with former and current Economist staffers, the book is intellectually rich without being conceptually baggy. Masterful.”

“A highly-readable history of one of the world’s most influential publications—and an important contribution to the history of political thought.”

“Written with analytical rigour, narrative flair and formidably marshalled scepticism, Liberalism at Large is by some way the most ambitious and compelling history of a newspaper or magazine that I have read.”

“Sharp, engaging and deeply researched, Liberalism at Large reveals the profound contradictions at the heart of one of the most influential strands of liberalism – its supposed aversion to state power and consistent embrace of imperial might.”

Liberalism at Large has to be the most fascinating, and the best-written, engagement with the idea-that-nobody-ever-defines. Our understanding of liberalism, and of its historical and ideological power, is permanently changed, and immeasurably for the better.”

“Much more than a history of a single journal, Liberalism at Large gives us a compelling counter-history of key global players, events and ideologies from imperialism and free trade to liberalism and neoliberalism. Absorbing and informative.”

“What a brilliant idea and what a brilliant book. Zevin offers a critical and nuanced account of the ever-changing liberalism promoted by the Economist.”

“Meticulous and beautifully written, Liberalism at Large should be read by anyone interested in ‘actually existing liberalism,’ in other words liberalism as it was conceived by the people who defined and promoted it, and not an idealized version based on some pre-determined canon of ‘great thinkers.’ Fascinating and often disturbing.”

“A compelling intellectual history.”

“One of the many virtues of this impressive book is that Alexander Zevin gets behind the mask. By delving into the history of the Economist and interviewing recent editors and staff, he has produced a lively account of the many disagreements (often fierce) that lay, and lie, behind the seemingly confident assertions that appear in print. This is a great book, of considerable scholarship. I strongly recommend it.”

“A deeply researched and fascinating insight into what the history of the modern world looks like when seen from one particular vantage point.”

“Zevin regards the Economist as one imagines an antelope might regard a crocodile—impressed by its longevity and power, suspicious of its habitat, and wary of its bite. His critique, pronounced atop a formidable pile of research, is forceful and serious: the Economist, as the voice of finance capital, is too self-satisfied to see its own role in the world’s troubles.”

“Zevin has a sharp eye … [Liberalism at Large] is a stirring read.”

“Outstanding … an excellent prism through which to study and evaluate the record of ‘actually existing liberalism.’”



“Liberalism at Large provides a rigorous study of the Economist’s history and the contingencies that shaped liberalism over the long term.”

“Liberalism at Large is...well-paced and engagingly written all the way through. The particular lens acts as a rather inspired way of looking at the history of Anglo-American capitalism. able to tell a fascinating story of [the Economist] and its relationship to the system it has championed for close to two hundred years now.”

“A fascinating new perspective on the history of liberalism … [Zevin] provides a significant new point of view, which changes the way we understand this category so fundamental to modern history.”

“Well-written and well-organized, Zevin’s book gives us fresh insight into the evolution of the doctrine of liberalism.”

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