Towards the Light

Towards the Light : The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights that Made the Modern West

3.87 (135 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

He begins with the often-violent conflicts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries - involving the likes of Torquemada, Servetus, Zwingli and Castellio - which were sparked by the pursuit of freedom of thought, uncontrolled by the Church and the Inquisition. In time, this drive towards greater independence and individual liberty led to bitter fighting in seventeenth-century Europe, including the Thirty Years' War and the English Civil War. Then, in part arising from the English constitutional settlement of 1688, came the eighteenth-century revolutions in America and France that swept away monarchies in favour of more representative forms of government. These in turn made possible the abolition of slavery, and later, rights for working men and women, universal education, the enfranchisement of women, and the idea of universal human rights and freedoms. Each of these struggles was a memorable human drama, and Grayling skilfully interweaves the stories of celebrated and little-known heroes alike, including Martin Luther, John Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Rosa Parks, whose bus protest became the catalyst of the US civil rights movement. The triumphs and sacrifices of these hard-won victories should make us value these precious rights even more highly, especially in an age when, as Grayling shows, democratic governments under pressure sometimes find it necessary to restrict rights in the name of freedom.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 166 x 236 x 36mm | 680.39g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0747583862
  • 9780747583868
  • 698,759

Review quote

PRAISE FOR 'AMONG THE DEAD CITIES' 'Grayling outlines his argument carefully, and its obvious contemporary relevance gives this book a timeliness to add to the timeless nature of the debate to which it contributes ... Books like this should be compulsory reading for all senior politicians' The Observer 'Grayling's book is comprehensive and accurate. He considers every important historical and ethical angle of the problem' Prospect 'Grayling's arguments, and the history he marshals to support them, are consistently thought-provoking ... Grayling has done an enormous service ... in helping to raise the profile of a debate about wartime morality which is essential for the victor nations of the Second World War to have' TLSshow more

About A. C. Grayling

A. C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a multi-talented author. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups.show more

Rating details

135 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 26% (35)
4 46% (62)
3 20% (27)
2 6% (8)
1 2% (3)
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