Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Life of Adam Smith by Ian Ross is Published in a Second Edition

The Second edition (2010) of the definitive biography of Adam Smith is published:

The Life of Adam Smith by Ian Simpson Ross from Oxford University Press (ISBN 978-0-19-955003-6).

Ian Ross’s first edition was published in 1995 and has remained unrivalled for 15 years. It is the premier source for biographical details of Adam Smith. All Smithian scholars and general readers refer to it for authoritative details of his life, his family, his career and the people he met, who influenced him and whom he tried to influence (and how he tried to influence them).

The genesis of his works is discussed, as is his surviving correspondence – and what a range of correspondents - and what he discussed, from the relatively trivial requests for his help in typical 18th-century fashion, hoping to use his interest to secure official appointments, through to major interventions in the big debates of the day, notably in the tragic events leading up to the declaration of the independence by the British colonies in North America.

Every corner of Adam Smith’s life is examined, using the extant sources, all carefully considered by the author, and at a cracking pace too. I use Ian Ross regularly in posts on Lost Legacy, secure in the certainty that if it is in Ross it’s certainly correct.
I strongly recommend that you purchase a copy, direct for you own use (first as a great read and afterwards time and time for again for many years for reference), or for your University or departmental library. It’s the best companion volume to the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, from Oxford University Press (also the lower-priced editions from Liberty Fund).

[I am toying with the idea of reviewing the new 2nd edition of Ross’s ‘Life of Adam Smith’ on Lost Legacy from my perspectives as an aid to readers.]



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