The Vexing Virtue

Book - 2011
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A witty, provocative, story-filled inquiry into the indispensable virtue of loyalty--a tricky ideal that gets tangled and compromised when loyalties collide (as they inevitably do), but a virtue the author, a prizewinning columnist for The Wall Street Journal , says is as essential as it is impossible. Felten illustrates the push and pull of loyalties-- from the ancient Greeks to Facebook--with stories and scenarios in which conflicting would-be moral trump cards trap the unlucky in painful ethical dilemmas. The foundation of our greatest satisfactions in life, loyalty also proves to be the root of much misery. Can we escape the excruciating predicaments when loyalties are at loggerheads? Can we avoid betraying and being betrayed?

When looking for love and friendship--the things that make life worthwhile--we are looking for loyalty. Who can we count on? And who can count on us? These are the essential (and uncomfortable) questions loyalty poses.

Loyalty and betrayal are the stuff of the great stories that move us: Agamemnon, Huck Finn, Brutus, Antigone, Judas. When is loyalty right, and when does the virtue become a vice?

As Felten writes in his thoughtful and entertaining book, loyalty is vexing. It forces us to choose who and what counts most in our lives--from siding with one friend over another to favoring our own children over others. It forces us to confront the conflicting claims of fidelity to country, community, company, church, and even ourselves. Loyalty demands we make decisions that define who we are.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011
Edition: First Simon and Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439176863
Branch Call Number: 179.9 F341L 2011
Characteristics: vii, 309 pages ; 20 cm
Alternative Title: Vexing virtue


From Library Staff

Familial loyalty is a major theme in KING CHARLES III. A writer for The Wall Street Journal, Felten approaches the idea of loyalty from historical as well as cultural, philosophical and personal perspectives.

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Kirstenhill Nov 12, 2011

This book is so good that I am going to now purchase a copy. Mr. Felten has an incredible index and references to multiple other pieces of classic books, references to movies covering from Ancient Greece to Modern times.

Chapters are nicely sorted by issues related to conflicting loyalties one has in romance, friendships, as a community member and even in the military.

I plan to use the index alone as a stepping stone to other materials of interest.

e.g. I recently watched the movie "Pride and Prejudice" based on Jane Austen's book of the same name and it was most enjoyable.

This is a keeper. Will be ordering extra copies as gifts for friends.


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