Sir Isaiah Berlin, O.M., was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1909. He came to England in 1919 and was educated at St Paul's School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. At Oxford, he was a a Fellow of All Souls College (1932-8, 1950-67), a Fellow of New College (1938-50), Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory (1957-67), first President of Wolfson College (1966-75), and President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. His achievements as a historian and expositor of ideas earned him the Erasmus, Lippincott, and Agnelli Prizes, and his lifelong defence of civil liberties earned him the Jerusalem Prize. He died in 1997.
Readers of Berlin's letters will find the same bubbling flow of malice, wit and human insight on the written page * The Economist * A dazzling display of intellectual pyrotechnics -- Vernon Bogdanor * New Statesman * As well as being sometimes profoundly wise, these letters are often laugh-out-loud funny -- Brian Lunch * Irish Times * They delight in flashing the stiletto, these donnish types, and impossible to conceive would be a college in which no academic grown had a dagger sticking out of the back. It is precisely this kind of malice which constitutes a naughty proportion of the book's appeal * Guardian * Ironic, gossipy, witty, intermittently profound and always intensely human -- Justin Cartwright * Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year *