The Pursuit of Reason: The Economist 1843–1993

The Pursuit of Reason coverThe history of The Economist is fascinating both because it is the story of a great and influential journal and because of its response to all the great issues of the day, from the Irish famine (it did not know what to do) to women’s suffrage (inconsistent) and from hanging (always against) to privatization (passionately for).

But this book is not only a history of ideas as seen through the eyes of one paper; it is also an account of a remarkable group of men, and a few women – including the six sisters who owned it for the best part of fifty years. Starting with James Wilson, it included Herbert Spencer, Asquith, Arnold Toynbee, Geoffrey Crowther, Barbara Ward Jackson, Isaac Deutscher and Kim Philby. The most important was Walter Bagehot, a towering genius whose journalism is without parallel.

This remarkable book is much more than the history of a paper: it sheds new light on the major economic, business and diplomatic issues of the last 150 years.

Published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton and in the US by Harvard Business School Press. Available on Amazon.


Independent — Andrew Marr

Observer — Roy Jenkins

Read Ruth’s article in the Independent on how she wrote The Pursuit of Reason.

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