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Gottfried looks at Carl Schmitt as a critic of modern liberalism and as a defender of the national state who examined carefully Western historical and political traditions. Challenging the view that Schmitt was a mere polemicist who set out to subvert German democracy, Gottfried's work argues instead, that Schmitt criticized liberalism and democracy from a highly reflective position that combined analytical depth with staggering erudition. The book shows that almost all of Schmitt's critics try to deflect the thrust of his observations by stressing his unpleasant political associations and allegedly hidden motives. This new source also provides a useful bibliography on secondary literature dealing with Carl Schmitt's work.
Gottfried's book is the most comprehensive study to date that addresses the major criticisms raised against Schmitt's understanding of politics. The book also underscores a point made by George Schwab and other recent biographers: that Schmitt made some of his strongest criticisms of liberal democracy while still a defender of the Weimar Republic. An excellent bibliographic resource, this book should appeal to anyone interested in German politics and to specialists in political theory and international relations.
- Table of Contents
Carl Schmitt in Historical Perspective: An Introduction
An Unsettled Life
The Hobbesian Revolution
Politics as Antagonism
Beyond the Sovereign State