Reviewed by Marta Rey Garcia
The Philanthropy Reader offers the obvious advantage over its online and digital competitors of being a one-stop publication, which is crucial given the fragmentation of the field of philanthropic studies across geographies and disciplines. It also presents a highly consistent and well-balanced selection of academic and non-academic excerpts, with complementary digital contents available as an e-resource.
Beth Breeze and Michael Moody – its editors, and also authors – provide insightful comment and structure in
their introductions to its six sections: ‘What is philanthropy?’, ‘Philanthropy across time and place’, ‘Being a philanthropist: callings and critiques’, ‘Philanthropists and beneficiaries: a complex relationship’, ‘Philanthropic practices and institutions’ and ‘Debates about making philanthropy better’. The result is a true flow of arguments. There are pleasant surprises, too, beyond the well-trodden paths of Carnegie’s and other broadly disseminated American texts, surprises that range from horizontal philanthropy in Africa to bequests during Amsterdam’s Golden Age, from entrepreneurial China to modern India, from Latin America today to the Ottoman Empire.