Blamed for the bloody disasters of the 20th century: Auschwitz, the Gulags, globalisation, Islamic terrorism; heralded as the harbinger of reason, equality, and the end of arbitrary rule, the Enlightenment has been nothing if not divisive. To this day historians disagree over when it was, where it was, and what it was (and sometimes, still is). Kieron O'Hara deftly traverses these conflicts, presenting the history, politics, science, religion, arts, and social life of the Enlightenment not as a simple set of easily enumerated ideas, but an evolving conglomerate that spawned a very diverse set of thinkers, from the radical Rousseau to the conservative Burke.
Dr Kieron O'Hara is a Senior Researcher at Southampton University. He is the author of many books including Trust: From Socrates to Spin (Icon) and The Spy in the Coffee Machine (Oneworld).