Eminent historian and new left thinker takes on leading conservative, liberal and socialist thinkers in one iconoclastic volume. "Spectrum" offers a critical survey of the ideas of rival intellectual groupings from the far right, the liberal center and the Marxist left, rarely considered in the same optic. The book opens with a comparative examination of four remarkable minds of the radical right: Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. In the liberal and social-democratic center, it considers John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas and Norberto Bobbio. On the Marxist left, it assesses the work of three major historians: Edward Thompson, Robert Brenner and Eric Hobsbawm, and a great philologist, Sebastiano Timpanaro. Each is considered against the historical background - institutional as well as intellectual - that set the context of their ideas. Also considered is the impact of the most widely read periodicals that deal with ideas today, the "Times Literary Supplement", "New York Review of Books" and "London Review of Books".
Perry Anderson is the author of Lineages of the Absolutist State, Considerations on Western Marxism, Arguments in English Marxism, In the Tracks of Historical Materialism, A Zone of Engagement and The Origins of Postmodernity. He teaches history at UCLA, and serves on the editorial board of New Left Review.