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The Open Society and Its Enemies

'Some time ago a wise old man came to see me in Prague and I listened to him with admiration. Shortly afterwards I heard that this man had died. His name was Karl Popper.’ Václav Havel, from the Preface

‘One of the great books of the century’ The Times

‘a modern classic’ The Independent

‘a brilliant polemic…It remains the best intellectual defence of liberal democracy against know-it-all totalitarianism.’
The Economist

This special one volume edition marks the centenary of Popper’s birth. It includes a new preface by Václav Havel and a personal recollection by Karl Popper’s friend, E.H.Gombrich, on the story behind the book’s first publication.

Written in political exile in New Zealand during the Second World War and first published in two volumes in 1945, Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies is one of the most famous and influential books of the twentieth century. Hailed by Bertrand Russell as a ‘vigorous and profound defence of democracy’, its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx prophesied the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and exposed the fatal flaws of socially engineered political systems. Popper’s highly accessible style, his erudite and lucid explanations of the thought of great philosophers and the recent resurgence of totalitarian regimes around the world are just three the reasons for the enduring popularity of The Open Society and Its Enemies and why it demands to be read today and in years to come.

‘If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, the wish to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men’ Karl Popper, from the Preface to the First Edition

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The Open Society & Its Enemies

‘a work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies of democracy, ancient and modern…The book is a vigorous and profound defence of democracy, timely, very interesting, and very well written.’
Bertrand Russell

‘Few philosophers…have combined such a vast width of knowledge with the capacity to produce important original ideas as he did.’
The Guardian

‘A powerful and important book. Dr Popper writes with extreme clarity and vigour. His studies in Greek history and Greek thought have obviously been profound and original. Platonic exegesis will never be the same again. Nor, I think, will Marxist exegesis.’
Gilbert Ryle