"Although the book has a strongly classical liberal flavour, italso contains some interesting discussion of positive liberty. Forone thing, Schmidtz and Brennan argue that the progress of negativeliberty in western societies has massively expanded almosteveryone′s range of real options. For another, they suggest thatthis greater (negative and positive) external freedom can open theway to a greater internal or psychological" freedom". (ThePhilosophers′ Magazine, 13 August 2010)
"Its brevity and simplicity is perhaps understandable, given thehistorical focus and ambitious scope of the book, and the authors′evident desire to get the light, entertaining and up–beat narrativemoving." (The Philosopher′s Magazine, August 2010)"The bookweaves together a number of figures in social, political,philosophical, economic, and even psychological theory, in a waynot commonly found, and it does so rather effectively." (NotreDame Philosophical Reviews, September 05, 2010)
"Schmidtz and Brennan offer their readers insights into thefreedom debate by following it through the broad sweep of Westernhistory...[A Brief History of Liberty]... comprehensive notes andbibliographies and...deserve[s] to be taken seriously by those withan interest in liberty." (The Philosopher, summer 2010)
From the Back Cover
Liberty is a lofty concept. But whatexactly is
liberty? What kindof value
does it have? What institutions bestpromote and protect the forms of liberty that are worth wanting?And what are the specific benefits and dangers inherent inso–called free societies?
Using a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historicalmethods, A Brief History of Liberty
offers asuccinct survey of pivotal moments in the evolution of personalfreedom, drawing on key historical figures from John Knox andMartin Luther to Karl Marx and Adam Smith to Roger Williams andThurgood Marshall. The authors examine how past (ifincomplete) successes in the struggle for liberty have led many ofus to liberty′s "last frontier": internal psychological obstaclesto our being as autonomous as we would like to be. Readersare encouraged to reflect on their own concepts of personal freedom–– what it is, where it comes from, why they have it, and what ithas done for them.
Stimulating and thought–provoking, A Brief History ofLiberty offers readers a philosophically–informed portraitof the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals.