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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Home Truths
I have been following this author on the Daily Telegraph blogs for the last 5 years and this is the first fully fledged book of his that I purchased. Whereas his comments on the Telegraph Blogs has a political undertone, this book is refreshingly non-political but definitely ideological. As to whether you agree with the author's ideological stance or not, you can't get...
Published 7 months ago by TheJollyGreenMan

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10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars History book or political polemic?
This is half a good book. The author makes a very well argued case for why many of the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today first took hold in the English-speaking world and he leads us through the key historical moments (and a few less remembered ones). He also, rightly, points out that many of the "bad" aspects of British/American history were still better than...
Published 5 months ago by Mr P A McLaughlin


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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Home Truths, 27 Nov 2013
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I have been following this author on the Daily Telegraph blogs for the last 5 years and this is the first fully fledged book of his that I purchased. Whereas his comments on the Telegraph Blogs has a political undertone, this book is refreshingly non-political but definitely ideological. As to whether you agree with the author's ideological stance or not, you can't get away from the fact that he is a skilled writer who doesn't bore the reader.

I must hasten to add that I did work for a number of years in Latin America and during that time I had the good fortune to visit Peru on various occasions. Interspersing his narrative with snippets and examples from the history of Peru made the book that more interesting for me to read. And like the author, I am also an admirer of the Spanish/South American culture and find his comparisons between the Latin (Spanish colonial) and British colonial experiences so fitting, appropriate, and refreshing.

This a serious book that is easy to read and would make an ideal Christmas present for the political animal - as all families have - in the family.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Empire Strikes Back, 26 Mar 2014
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This is a ride through history from the birth of England . Its central thesis is that the Common Law of England combined with the Whig values of individual freedom and personal property rights have led to the overwhelming success of the English speaking world.
Hannan's argues entertainingly and convincingly for "Anglophone exceptionalism".

I am not always convinced of his arguments but it takes an effort to stand back from the excellent prose and consider his case rationally. Was the British Empire one of the greatest forces for good? You decide.
Well worth a read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars how we invented freedom and why it matters, 28 Jan 2014
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A long overdue declaration of the extent to which England has shaped the values which we hold so dear but often take for granted. England should apologise less and remind others of the legacy it has been given and should cherish.
As Churchill said, more or less "democracy is the worst for m of government, except for all the others"
Once freedom has gone, it rarely comes back peacefully.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book full of answers!, 23 Jan 2014
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What a high-handed conceit that title appears to be! It is almost as if he challenges himself to justify it.
This is essentially a history of the Anglosphere, that loose association of peoples that is bound by the English language, a common heritage, and so much more. Hannan explains how serendipity and Anglo-Saxon bloody-mindedness forged a particular type of freedom that became the envy of other nations who could never quite understand it. It was exported around the world by migration and colonialism. The more you read the more you appreciate how precious it is.
Not for the first time, it is in danger - not least from complacency. That is why it is important to understand why it matters.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics is not a spectator sport!, 8 Jan 2014
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If you are interested in liberty and its safeguards you will enjoy this book even if you don't agree with everything the authors says or with his view of English history. It is very timely with referendums coming up on Scottish independence and renegotiation of the UK's membership of the EU.
Daniel explains, in a lucid, felicitous style, why he thinks we must treasure and protect our English liberties against the ever-encroaching state. He skips through about 1500 years of history from the perspective of the expanding 'anglosphere' with England at its core, showing how our parliamentary institutions and independent judiciary, personal liberty, sanctity of contract and rule of law developed from the folkmoots of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. It's 'use them or lose them' and at the moment we look like losing them to apathy. Relying on the ever-ready state is replacing self-reliance. Daniel shows how unusual such liberties are in a world where law is mainly made by the state rather than derived from the people.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A geat read!, 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters (Hardcover)
I have always been interested in British history, but struggled to fit it into a consistent narrative. This book supplies a convincing, as well as an uplifting one. I would even suggest that something along the lines of this book's thesis could usefully be incorporated into school history curricula.

One of the principal ideas in this book is that the liberty inherent in the political system of the anglosphere nations owes a great deal to our systems of common law. This idea is understood by few of us, and probably far fewer, if any, people of other cultures. If this book helps more people recognise our magnificent common law heritage, then it will have done a great service to us all. I recommend Hayek's "Law, Legislation and Liberty" on this subject.

I recommend this book to all those English people who feel vaguely embarrassed entertaining patriotic thoughts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding lesson in the values of freedom, 7 Feb 2014
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M. J. M. Mills (London UK) - See all my reviews
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Daniel Hannan writes in the most accessible and compelling way to trace the history of our fight for freedom of the individual. Much of the book has topical relevance. It is all too easy to see through his eyes the threats we face from power-hungry political and religious extremists. Their intrusions into our lives too often smother our desire for independence. But, as he so compellingly traces our progress from the earliest times, this is nothing new except that the English speaking peoples have been almost unique in their determination to stay free.
A really inspiring read from a highly skilled writer.
Shame that political opponents and rivals will undoubtedly do everything possible to downplay the considerable value of this work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Either Pure Genius or Total Madness - A Great Read!, 6 Jun 2014
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This review is from: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters (Hardcover)
This book by prominent Tory MEP Daniel Hannan is a complete and very amusing rewrite of English (& American) history through an Anglo-Saxon lens. The way he weaves the narrative through the last 1000 years is beautiful and relatively coherent.I do feel that it puts England (or rather our Anglo Saxon heritage) in far too prominent a position in world history, though he is not I believe arguing that there is any inherent cultural (or genealogical) superiority in the Anglo Saxons (though some people might read this into the book, which is where I think Hannan should have been clearer). Rather the Anglo Saxon legal system developed in that way for reasons of the UK being an Island. At the end of the book he advocates the creation of an Anglosphere including the UK, USA, Canada , Australia, NZ , Ireland and India. I don't buy his arguments (what about China and the Far East?) but perhaps Nigel Farage does. I don't general read book by politicians, but I found Hannan's book impossible to put down. It did make me think very differently about our Island's history, though I think Mr Hannan's spectacles are a tad too rosy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D Hannan's book, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters (Hardcover)
An excellent book by Daniel Hannan MEP, giving an account of the great contribution to democracy & our rights by Magna Carta etc.

I also recommend listening to his speeches on YouTube.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone should read, 25 Feb 2014
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Brilliant, I would give it 20 stars. Essential reading for everyone. An important work which puts across a very valid viewpoint
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How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters
How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters by Daniel Hannan (Hardcover - 19 Nov 2013)
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