Books interview with Larry Siedentop: “What is distinctive about the west is that the organising social role is no longer the patriarchal family and instead the individual”

In a wide-ranging interview, Larry Siedentop talks to Matt Elton about his new study of the 'individual' through history and what can be done about the west's current "crisis of confidence"

Larry Siedentrop photographed for BBC History Magazine. (Image by Geraint Lewis)

This article was first published in the February 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

What prompted you to write this book?

I think there is a crisis of confidence in the west that is progressive and has many sources: economic decline in comparison to other parts of the world, as well as, arguably, reduced political power and influence.

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