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By John Kaag

The epic knowledge contained in a misplaced library is helping the writer flip his lifestyles around

John Kaag is a dispirited younger thinker at sea in his marriage and his profession while he stumbles upon West Wind, a destroy of an property within the hinterlands of recent Hampshire that belonged to the eminent Harvard thinker William Ernest Hocking. Hocking was once one of many final precise giants of yank philosophy and an instantaneous highbrow descendent of William James, the daddy of yank philosophy and psychology, with whom Kaag feels a deep kinship. it really is James’s query “Is lifestyles worthy living?” that publications this amazing book.

The books Kaag discovers within the Hocking library are crawling with bugs and whole of mildew. yet he resolves to revive them, as he instantly acknowledges their significance. not just does the library at West Wind comprise handwritten notes from Whitman and inscriptions from Frost, yet there are startlingly infrequent first versions of Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant. As Kaag starts off to catalog and skim via those valuable volumes, he embarks on an exhilarating trip that leads him to the life-affirming tenets of yankee philosophy—self-reliance, pragmatism, and transcendence—and to an excellent younger Kantian who joins him within the recovery of the Hocking books.

Part highbrow historical past, half memoir, American Philosophy is eventually approximately love, freedom, and the function that knowledge can play in turning one’s lifestyles around.

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