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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, incisive and immensely relevant, 23 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Liberty in the Age of Terror: A Defence of Civil Society and Enlightenment Values (Paperback)
This is a really helpful book if you want to understand and take part in the debates about security and human rights surrounding the "War on Terror", especially the often controversial new powers given to the police and government. The author runs through topics such as ID cards, public safety, censorship, CCTV and privacy in a lively fashion, cutting through to the underlying principles that can often be obscured by political spin and media coverage. He writes very clearly. At times the writing seems hurried and a little repetitive, but it is always extremely readable.

From a practical point of view I thought the book does two things particularly well. First, it takes rather woolly liberal ideas such as "tolerance" and "free speech" and distills them down to clear ethical principles, making them both easier to discuss and to defend. Secondly, it puts forward clear responses to the weasel-words and spin used by politicians as they seek to justify their policies.

The final third of the book - where the author engages with the ideas of other thinkers on liberty, such as Isaiah Berlin and Roger Scruton - is perhaps less effective. Again the writing is very clear and the discussion interesting, but the debates aren't really given enough space to fully flesh out the points at issue.

Overall, highly recommended.
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