Synopses & Reviews
Embracing the web of multiculturalism that has become a fact of contemporary life from New York to New Delhi, Eco argues that we are more connected to people of other traditions and customs than ever before, making tolerance the ultimate value in today's world. What good, he asks in a talk delivered during the Gulf War, does war do in a world where the flow of goods, services, and information is unstoppable and the enemy is always behind the lines? What makes news today, who decides how it will be presented, and how does the way it is disseminated contribute to the widespread disillusionment with politics in general?
In the most personal of the essays, Eco recalls experiencing liberation from fascism in Italy as a boy, and examines the various historical forms of fascism, always with an eye toward such ugly manifestations today. And finally, in an intensely personal open letter to an Italian cardinal, Eco reflects on a question underlying all the reflections in the book: What does it mean to be moral or ethical when one doesn't believe in God?
Thoughtful and subtle as well as pragmatic and relevant, these essays present one of the world's most important thinkers at the height of his critical powers.
PRAISE FOR UMBERTO ECO
"Instead of that tone of constipated envy we associate with criticism,
Eco's essays read like letters from a friend, trying to share something he loves
with someone he likes."--San Francisco Review of Books
"One of the most influential thinkers of our time."--Los Angeles Times
PRAISE FOR FIVE MORAL PIECES
"In his fiction and nonfiction alike, Eco is an urbane, genial writer who brings calmness and clarity to every subject he treats."--Los Angeles Times
"Cogently argued and periodically sparkles with the kind of wit and insight that readers have come to expect from one of Italy's brightest minds."--Library Journal
One of the world's leading writers and intellectuals reflects on the most pressing social, political, and cultural issues of the day. "One of the most influential thinkers of our time."--"Los Angeles Times."
About the Author
UMBERTO ECO was born in Alessandria, Italy in 1932. He is the author of five novels and numerous collections of essays. A semiotician, philosopher, medievalist, and for many years a professor at the University of Bologna, Eco is now president of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici there. He has received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, has been named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Milan.