How We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters

How We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters


By (author) Daniel Hannan

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  • Publisher: Head of Zeus
  • Format: Hardback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 228mm x 35mm | 606g
  • Publication date: 19 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1781857547
  • ISBN 13: 9781781857540
  • Sales rank: 61,745

Product description

This book tells the story of freedom and explains how it is a uniquely 'British', rather than 'Western', invention. It shows how the inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the extraordinary idea that the state was the servant, and not the master, of the individual. This revolutionary concept created security of property and contract which, in turn, led to industrialization and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up which, on the whole, rewarded production over predation. The system was carried across the oceans by English-speakers - sometimes colonial administrators, sometimes patriotic settlers - where in Philadelphia 1787, it was distilled into its purest and most sublime form as the US Constitution. Freedom is the key to the success of the English-speaking peoples and this book teaches us to keep fast to that legacy and, in our turn, to pass it intact to the next generation.

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Author information

Daniel Hannan has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. His speech against Gordon Brown in 2010 is the most watched political video in Britain. He blogs regularly at and for the Daily Telegraph.

Review quote

'A magnificent achievement. Hannan's prose coruscates, and he has a fine eye for anecdotal detail. He bestrides the Atlantic like a majestic combination of Winston Churchill and Piers Morgan' Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. 'A brilliant book, and among the most readable works of political theory I have ever come across' Andrew Roberts. 'A very enjoyable, engaging and robust work' Evening Standard. 'Well constructed and researched' Financial Times. 'Hannan sweeps us through English history with incredible ingenuity' Daily Telegraph. 'Well written, well researched, well worth reading' Observer. 'Hannan creates a sparkling narrative that deserves to be read ... his rational optimism will provide not just an insightful look at the past, but also a beacon pointing to a future' Catholic Herald. 'Well-argued and inspiring, this is a must read for anyone interested in the true story of freedom' Good Book Guide.