In This Review

Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman
Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman
By Jeremy Adelman
Princeton University Press, 2013, 760 pp

This is a wonderful book about a superb political economist. Adelman invested many years in this admiring biography, which allows readers to fully appreciate the diversity of Albert Hirschman’s many contributions to economic scholarship; it also does not fail to offer occasional criticisms. Hirschman never won a Nobel Prize in Economics, but his writing did lead to the emergence of political economy as a central field within the social sciences in the United States. Hirschman’s 1970 book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, generated an immense positive response on its appearance, although primarily from political scientists, rather than economists. Hirschman possessed a unique ability to shift from the particular to the general and projected an implicit optimism about humanity’s prospects. He did not enjoy teaching -- to put it mildly. But he was able to profoundly influence two generations of students who have greatly benefited from reading his works, which have proved especially useful for those who study development issues in Latin America, a region to which Hirschman paid particular attention.