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on 27 January 2017
Good good good good good good good. Good good good wretched nuisance this is ! Good good good good good
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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 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 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 29 January 2014
Not jingoism as I thought it might be. But clear lucid evidence based is what it is.
As a stud t of world history I learnt a lot from it.
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on 9 November 2017
Daniel Hannan presents us with a fantastically triumphalist yet historically sound assessment of the English-speaking world and its virtues. These virtues are namely individual freedom (e.g. speech, assembly, free enterprise), a common law, and the notion that government is to serve the people, not the other way around (among many others).

The story begins as far back as can be historically determined in Anglo-Saxon Britain, where Hannan narrates the story of how, over one thousand years ago in a rainy little island, the seeds of freedom were being sown, having allegedly been transported over from Germanic tribes dating back at least to the Roman era. Here, the notion of the common law is starting to take hold, with Kings remarkably even serving the people (or at least serving people who serve the people), and eventually uniting England. The progress is then throttled by the Norman invasion, and the ensuing chapters of this wonderfully sweeping overview of British history showcase how, despite autocratic desires of certain rulers of certain periods, the Anglosphere, as it is known, was able to overcome these challenges. Anglosphere values took precedent and flourished in an age where most nations, even great powers, saw influence and authority concentrated on the privileged few.

Hannan wonderfully chronicles many key events in this period, namely the English civil war, the Glorious Revolution, and the American War of Independence. The accounts are succinct, but contain a fine insight and the narrative is outstanding. Hannan continues this narrative, explaining how British colonial rule, despite its obvious and fashionably loathed flaws, was more benevolent than the rule of other European empires, showcasing that many in Britain agreed that colonial overrule would only be a temporary stage en route to the independence and prosperity of a great many global trading partners (particularly India, who Hannan persuasively includes as an Anglosphere nation; the Anglosphere, Hannan argues, is after all based off a set of values and a common language, not a common skin colour).

The result is an uplifting account of British history. Hannan swims against the fashionable current to flow with, championing traditional British values in an age of increasing relativism, hedonism, and offence taking – traits that Hannan comprehensively criticises later in the book. The arguments deployed fabulously written and irrefutable – the only question is whether you believe, as he does, that such trends are a backwards movement. With scathing attacks on the EU, the political class of Britain’s Europhilia, the sleepwalking into a big state bureaucracy, and the Obama administration, Hannan concludes in a more philosophical, pondering manner. He asks whether Anglospheric values – values that, despite the horrors of the 20th century, emerged as the victor, having established the two great world powers over the last 300 years and greatest countries to live for longer – are fading away from the consciousness of many. Given current trends described earlier, Hannan appears somewhat pessimistic, but is encouraged by the reality of the world.

Hannan doesn’t just explain how the English-speaking world invented freedom, but sweeps through the history of the English-speaking world wonderfully, and argues that freedom doesn’t just matter, but is essential for a well-functioning, prosperous society. My biggest personal qualm is that it uses a rich array of sources yet lacks any form of bibliography, which I find a great shame. However, it is a timely book in the current age, and Hannan’s closing words are well written: “Act worthy of yourselves.”
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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 5 June 2014
I found this book thought-provoking. In my opinion it should be required reading for all schoolchildren over fifteen years old.
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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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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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