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.” – Pankaj Mishra, New Yorker
“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.” – Helena Rosenblatt, author of The Lost History of Liberalism
Alexander Zevin is an Assistant Professor of History at City University of New York and an Editor at New Left Review.
Astra Taylor is the author of The People's Platform (winner of the American Book Award) and made two documentary films, Zizek! and Examined Life. Taylor’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, n+1, and The Baffler, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in New York City.