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4.6 out of 5 stars92
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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on 23 January 2014
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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on 18 February 2016
Most of the historical material in this book is not taught today in the history classrooms of the English speaking world. If you can figure out why this is, then you understand almost all that ails our society. I only giive this 5 stars because i can't give it more. Do yourself a favour and buy this book. When you have finished it, pass it on to everyone you know.
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on 31 October 2015
Highly disagree with a lot of the negative comments on this book. The content is factual and well-researched. Daniel provides us with a valuable account of economic and social history and reasons why capitalism and individual liberties remain the best systems for any country to adopt. Many falsely assume that capitalism and liberty means protecting the wealthy and targeting to poor. Instead, Hannan beautifully shows that opportunities to make your own decisions and have the freedom to choose your future (and ultimately to bear the consequences of your choices) are at the crux of capitalism.
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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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 March 2016
You don't necessarily have to agree with all the author's views to appreciate his very readable treatment of a subject that should be given closer attention than is often the case. This is a very timely examination of how the Anglosphere liberties that are so easily taken for granted were won in the first place (often at great human cost). A clear contrast is made with other parts of the world. Most importantly, the book examines the various ongoing threats to freedom, and the diverse directions from which they come.
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on 31 July 2015
A beautifully researched book makes you proud of our history. A pity the progressives responsible for our children's education shun British history, which does not allow the future generation to understand freedom and why it matters
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