Fire and Ashes

Fire and Ashes : Success and Failure in Politics

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In 2005 Michael Ignatieff left his life as a writer and professor at Harvard University to enter the combative world of politics back home in Canada. By 2008, he was leader of the country's Liberal Party and poised--should the governing Conservatives falter--to become Canada's next Prime Minister. It never happened. Today, after a bruising electoral defeat, Ignatieff is back where he started, writing and teaching what he learned. What did he take away from this crash course in political success and failure? Did a life of thinking about politics prepare him for the real thing? How did he handle it when his own history as a longtime expatriate became a major political issue? Are cynics right to despair about democratic politics? Are idealists right to hope? Ignatieff blends reflection and analysis to portray today's democratic politics as ruthless, unpredictable, unforgiving, and hyper-adversarial. Rough as it is, Ignatieff argues, democratic politics is a crucible for compromise, and many of the apparent vices of political life, from inconsistency to the fake smile, follow from the necessity of bridging differences in a pluralist society. A compelling account of modern politics as it really is, the book is also a celebration of the political life in all its wild, exuberant more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 147.32 x 203.2 x 25.4mm | 359.99g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674725999
  • 9780674725997
  • 53,605

Review quote

It is really a cautionary tale about the perils awaiting thoughtful men who are moved to act out the ancient dream of bringing bright ideas into the fog of political life Fire and Ashes leaves one with a sense of loss and regret, not so much at Ignatieff s failure at an enterprise that, by all accounts, including his own, was doomed from the outset. No, the regret one feels is for the gradual death of civility in politics that his book so vividly chronicles.--Paul Wilson"New York Review of Books" (04/24/2014)"show more