From the Author of The Greatest Benefit to Mankind (winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award) comes a "sumptuous and spicy volume" (Washington Post Book World) that highlights Britain's long-underestimated and pivotal role in disseminating the ideas and culture of the Enlightenment. In response to numerous histories centered on France and Germany, Roy Porter explains how the monumental transformation of thinking in Britain influenced worldwide developments. This "splendidly imaginative" work "propels the debate forward . . . and makes a valuable point" (New York Times Book Review).With its representative government, religious tolerance, precocious industrialization, and pioneering individualism, eighteenth-century Britain was at the forefront of political, social, and intellectual innovation. In this "pulsing narrative, packed with redoubtable characters" (Sunday [London] Times), Porter examines the influence of such heroic figures as Bacon, Newton, and Locke in shaping the British Enlightenment, as well as the impact of other English essayists and novelists in popularizing modern thought.