Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius ), a professor of philos"/>

Toward the Light of Liberty: The Struggle for Freedom and Rights That Made the Modern Western World

A. C. Grayling, Author . Walker $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1636-1

Do we take our liberties for granted at the risk of losing them in the war on terror? Grayling (Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius ), a professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a leading British public intellectual, believes so. This book is, in some respects, an old-fashioned, triumphalist history of the rise of Western liberty since the 16th century (with Martin Luther, John Locke and Elizabeth Cady Stanton playing leading role), but nevertheless serves as a stirring call to arms to defend freedom from its enemies within and without. Grayling argues that the struggle for liberty has been one of sacrifice and hardship on the part of many heroic individuals. Despite the blood and the violence, it has been worth it: “Today's ordinary Western citizen is, in sixteenth-century terms, a lord: a possessor of rights, entitlements, opportunities and resources that only an aristocrat of that earlier period could hope for.” But, Grayling somberly writes, the process “of losing our inheritance of liberty might have already begun.” Grayling provides a refreshing tonic to any inclination toward apathy or cynicism, and his book will only gain in relevance as the 2008 presidential election looms. Color photos. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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