FREEDOM IN THE WESTERN WORLD by Herbert J. Muller

FREEDOM IN THE WESTERN WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The second of three volumes on freedom through the ages, this book is a history of Western Civilization from the dark ages through the rise of democracy in England, France and America, with special emphasis on the forces at work that would eventuate in the growth of both political and religious freedom, and, ultimately, of democracy. Professor Muller confesses that, since almost everything of any consequence that man has done has had some bearing on the evolution of freedom, his history of freedom may amount to a history of civilization. This admission ought not to be allowed to obscure the merits of the author's well stated view of the past. The author defines freedom as ""the condition of being able to choose and carry out purposes"". It is important to note that this condition did not exist until recent centuries, and then only in the Western world. The author is careful to point out that the history of man has not been a ceaseless struggle for freedom, but that certain historical happenings--the theories of Calvin, the emergence of the nation state and a bourgeois class, the scientific revolution--have had that effect. The author treats his subject with verve and gusto. He has assembled an amazing amount of information in one compact volume for the busy reader to enjoy and profit by. Recommended.

Publisher: Harper & Row