This abridgement of Reflections on the Revolution in France preserves the dynamism of Edmund Burke’s polemic while excising a number of detail-laden passages that may be of less interest to modern readers. Brian R. Clack’s introduction offers a compelling overview of the text and explores the consistency and coherence of Burke’s views on revolution. Burke’s critique of revolutionary politics is illuminated further by the extensive supplementary materials collected in a number of themed appendices. These include a selection of background material essential for an understanding of the Reflections, an overview of Burke’s response to the American Revolution, a sampling of his earliest and later views on the French Revolution, selections from Burke’s writings on reform, passages from A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, and a representative sampling of contemporary critical responses to the Reflections.
“In this expertly curated edition of Burke’s Reflections, Brian Clack makes a convincing, well-researched, and beautifully written case against the view that Burke’s political views changed drastically with the penning of the Reflections—that he was once the defender of liberty and reform, and suddenly became a reactionary defender of the monarchical status quo. Clack’s introduction is masterful—beautifully written, balanced, and well researched. Nearly every anticipation I felt as I read was met, as Clack has both an understanding of the scholarship on Burke and a writing style that takes the reader down a winding path, unveiling insights that the reader hopes are just around the next turn.” — Seth Vannatta, Morgan State University