O'Brien (Pro-Chancellor/Univ. of Dublin; Cunning and Passion, 1988, etc.) argues here that Edmund Burke (1729-97), widely considered the ``father of modern conservatism,'' was really a ``liberal pluralist.'' Neither biography (not even an ``unconventional'' one, as O'Brien claims) nor anthology (too little Burke, too much O'Brien), this is an extended political essay focusing on four arenas of 18th-century political life—Ireland, America, India, and France- -preceded by an attack on the dominant school of Burke scholarship, which, in assessing Burke as a conservative, consigned him, O'Brien says, to ``the ash-bin of history.'' O'Brien believes that he can provide the ``basis and essentials for a Burke revival'' by proving that Burke was, in fact, a prophet of revolution.
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