Dr. Palmer's book, Realizing Freedom, is sure to become a must-read for all students of liberty, no matter their age. It accomplishes two distinct and particularly meaningful tasks in its exploration of the topic of freedom that fit its incredibly apt title. On the one hand, Palmer helps the reader realize the meaning of freedom by offering some of the most coherent and logical defenses of liberty against common misunderstandings and inaccurate arguments. On the other hand, Palmer lays out a sound strategy for realizing freedom in our life-time, not merely as an intellectual construct for academics to argue over, but as a value that guides policy decisions and right of people everywhere to enjoy.
The first task of explaining the meaning of freedom and defending it from common criticisms, is what most people will take away from the book and is one of its very clear purposes. Palmer clearly lays out just what the concept of freedom entails in all of its aspects from the structure of the book, anticipating many questions that readers would normally have. What's more, Palmer takes on some of the most difficult problems facing the philosophy of freedom and answers them head on from everything such as the Marxist conception of class conflict and the dominance of Rawlsian political theory today.
The second accomplishment of the book may be an indirect effort on Palmer's part, or at least something that seems to be pushed toward the end, but Palmer offers the reader a clear conception of how to realize freedom in our lifetime. Instead of relegating his work to the intellectual debates of what liberty would be in a hypothetical world, he presents freedom as something that we should and could see if properly defended and promoted in the real world. As Palmer writes in his introduction, he desires "to make a difference for freedom, for justice, for the rule of law, and for peace and toleration." The very tone of this book and the suggestions for policy improvements throughout make his dedication to realizing freedom clear and his strategy for doing so even clearer. What he offers as a strategy is perhaps the most appropriate: seeking to persuade others to the superiority of freedom over authoritarianism and working with others rather than intentionally alienating them.
In addressing both issues, Palmer has provided an ideal book for readers of any level of interest in the topic of freedom. Whether you are just beginning to intellectually explore the concept of liberty or if you are well-versed in classical liberalism, this book will provide you with an engaging and thought-provoking read.