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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2013
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2014
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2014
This book really kept me gripped from start to finish. Dan Hannan is probably the most Euro-sceptic Tory MEP as well as being the most popular - with the electorate at least, even is his party leadership might not be so keen.

Unlike many/most Euro-sceptics Hannan has the intellectual capacity to lay out his arguments, and those of his opponents, in a clear, concise and understandable way.

He uses those talents in this wonderful book which sets out exactly how and why Britain both invented and disseminated freedom. I do urge you to read it and even if you end up disagreeing with Hannan he will have given you something to think about.

For content, substance, style and scholarship this has to be rated 5 out of 5!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2015
The central point is that freedom is intrinsically English and that England is sacrificing this to the EU, with terrible consequences. While I believe some interesting points were made, I generally found the argument to be rather tenuous at times. It read like it was written by a politician, with "facts" shoe-horned to fit a preconceived idea, rather than a genuine attempt to analyse the origins and future of freedom. His delight at the controversial alliance of the western five eyes intelligence agencies is bewildering considering the extent to which they have circumvented their country's privacy laws by agreeing to spy on each other's citizens.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2014
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2014
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2014
This should be available in schools, we should make all aware of our heritage. It has been almost lost recently.
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