David Edmonds has written several books, covering subjects as diverse as philosophy, chess and discrimination.
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Some descriptions and reviews
Wittgenstein’s Poker (written with J. Eidinow) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was a Number One national best seller in the US. It has been translated into 25 languages.
On 25 October 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face to face for the first and only time. The encounter lasted only ten minutes, and did not go well. Almost immediately, rumours started to spread around the world that the two philosophers had come to blows, armed with red-hot pokers. But what really happened?
- “Excellent…” Simon Blackburn, The Sunday Times
- “Edmonds and Eidinow have a good story to tell and they tell it wonderfully well” John Banville, Irish Times
- “A wonderful account of an extraordinary confrontation…nothing but pleasure” The Times
- “Informative, wonderfully readable and often very funny” Joyce Carol Oates
- “An entertaining and informative book” Philip Hensher, The Observer
- “A fascinating book” The Guardian
- “A fast-paced, engaging and very funny story” Sunday Herald
- “The authors do a brilliant job” The Independent
- “An excellent piece of philosophical journalism” The Financial Times
- “An enthralling reconstruction of the episode. The authors’ ingenuity is way beyond ordinary.” The New York Times
- “The authors make the meeting of Popper and Wittgenstein seem as fateful as that between the iceberg and the Titanic” Time Magazine
- “a terrific book, a fugue like account of everything we know and don’t know about a ten-minute squabble between two great and ornery Austrian-Anglo-Jewish philosophers” Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
- “Nothing but pleasure…” Philip Howard, The Times
- “Most stylish book of the year” The Spectator
- “A meaty, exceedingly well researched, and engaging book…A marvel of passionate journalism.” San Francisco Chronicle
- “Engrossing – The clash between Wittgenstein and Popper has the glamour of a small epic” Los Angeles Times
- “One of the year’s most entertaining and intellectually rich books” Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review
- “A wonderful yarn” The Boston Globe
- Book of the Year: Joan Bakewell
- “A brilliant idea” Michael Frayn
- “I read it like a detective story, in 10 hours, almost without looking up from the book” Mario Vargas Llosa
- “Marvellous….” William Jefferson Clinton
Bobby Fischer Goes To War (written with J. Eidinow) details the occasion when Bobby Fischer met Boris Spassky in one of the most thrilling and politically charged chess matches of all time.
For decades, the USSR had dominated world chess. Evidence, according to Moscow, of the superiority of the Soviet system. But in 1972 along came the American, Bobby Fischer: insolent, arrogant, abusive, vain, greedy, vulgar, bigoted, paranoid and obsessive – and apparently unstoppable.
Against him was Boris Spassky: complex, sensitive, the most un-Soviet of champions. As the authors reveal, when Spassky began to lose, the KGB decided to step in . . .
- “Outstanding….The definitive account of this historic struggle” Nigel Short, British Chess Champion
- “The most famous chess match of all time reconstructed in a style as compelling as that of a thriller” Irish Times
- “An excellent book” Sunday Telegraph
- “Pure drama” The Independent
- “One of the best books on chess I have ever read” Daniel King, Chess
- “a gripping read” The Sunday Times
- “Fascinating and accessible…” Time Out
- “A page-turner for Grandmasters and neophytes alike” Esquire
Bobby Fischer Goes To War has been translated into a dozen languages.
In Rousseau’s Dog, David Edmonds and John Eidinow bring their narrative verve to the bitter quarrel that turned these two Enlightenment giants into mortal foes. And it is a very human story of compassion, treachery, anger and revenge.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – philosopher, novelist, composer, educationist, political provocateur – was on the run. He was fleeing intolerance, persecution, and enemies who proclaimed him a madman, dangerous to society. David Hume, the foremost philosopher in the English language, universally praised as a model of decency, came to his aid. He brought Rousseau and his beloved little dog Sultan to England. And then it all went horribly wrong.
- “Offbeat, imaginative….entertaining” New York Times
- “A beach book for the brainy set, engaging and erudite” Boston Globe
- “Sprightly and accessible” San Francisco Chronicle
- “A juicy steak of a book” Minneapolis Star Tribune
A runaway train is racing toward five men who are tied to the track. Unless the train is stopped, it will inevitably kill all five men. You are standing on a footbridge looking down on the unfolding disaster. However, a fat man, a stranger, is standing next to you: if you push him off the bridge, he will topple onto the line and, although he will die, his chunky body will stop the train, saving five lives. Would you kill the fat man?
The question may seem bizarre. But it’s one variation of a puzzle that has baffled moral philosophers for almost half a century and that more recently has come to preoccupy neuroscientists, psychologists, and other thinkers as well. This book tells the riveting story of why and how philosophers have struggled with this ethical dilemma, sometimes called the trolley problem. In the process, it provides an entertaining and informative tour through the history of moral philosophy. Most people feel it’s wrong to kill the fat man. But why? After all, in taking one life you could save five. Answering the question is far more complex–and important–than it first appears. In fact, how we answer it tells us a great deal about right and wrong.
- “A lucid account of a famous thought experiment in moral philosophy.” Editors’ Choice, New York Times Book Review
- “jaunty, lucid and concise. . . . In Would You Kill the Fat Man? David Edmonds . . . a seasoned philosopher, tells the story . . . with wit and panache.” Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review
- “elegant, lucid, and frequently funny. . . . Edmonds has written an entertaining, clear-headed, and fair-minded book.” Cass R. Sunstein, New York Review of Books
- “elegantly written . . . Edmonds’s book is especially valuable for the way in which it embeds his introduction to the trolley problem in a story of the social reality that produced it.” Hallvard Lillehammer, Times Literary Supplement
- “A marvel of economy and learning worn lightly” Daniel Akst, Wall Street Journal
- “An accessible, humorous examination of how people approach complex ethical dilemmas. . . ..” Publishers Weekly
- “Informative, accessible, engaging and witty, his book is a marvelous introduction to debates about right and wrong in philosophy, psychology, and neuro-science. . . . In the hands of a lucid explicator like David Edmonds, trolleyology is, at once, serious business (relevant, among others things, to preferences for drone strikes) and lots of fun.” Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today
- “This is a rare treat–a serious, thought-provoking book on ethics that is also witty, funny, and entertaining. Not to be missed. . . .” Mark Willen, TalkingEthics.com
- “thoroughly delightful.” Brian Bethune, Macleans
- ” witty and informative – an excellent introduction to some main lines of 20th-century moral philosophy.” Choice
- “Edmonds does an outstanding job of introducing the reader to the historical emergence and subsequent development of trolleyology” Eli Weber, Metapsychology
- “Rich in anecdote and example and wide-ranging in scope, Would You Kill the Fat Man?, is by turns fascinating and unsettling.” Gabriel Carlyle, Peace News
- “Dave Edmonds has a remarkable knack for weaving the threads of philosophical debates into an engaging story. Would You Kill the Fat Man? is a stimulating introduction to some key ethical issues and philosophers.” Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save
- “David Edmonds’s new book, Would You Kill the Fat Man?, is both highly informative and a delight to read. Written in a clear, engaging, and witty style, it succeeds admirably in making various fascinating and important debates in philosophy and psychology accessible to a broad readership.” Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University
- “This is a splendid work. It’s a sheer joy to read” Philip Pettit, L.S. Rockefeller University Professor, Princeton University; Distinguished Professor, Australian National University
- “This is a highly engaging book. David Edmonds’s reflections are full of insight and he provides fascinating biographical background about the main players in the history of the trolley problem, in a style reminiscent of his very successful Wittgenstein’s Poker.” Roger Crisp, University of Oxford
- “Lucid, witty, and beautifully written, this book is a pleasure to read. While providing an introduction to moral philosophy, it also presents engaging portraits of some of the greatest moral philosophers from Thomas Aquinas to the present day, and it makes the case for the relevance to ethics of the new experimental moral psychology. It is a tour de force.” Anthony Appiah, author of The Honor Code