Liberty as a human ideal may never seem more powerful—or problematic—after reading these pages.



Rethinking one of America’s most cherished values in search of a better tomorrow.

America has lost its way, says Schwartz (Liberty in America’s Founding Moment, 2011), a former religious studies professor–turned–software company executive. From a political and economic standpoint, he believes much of the blame can be traced to a flawed understanding of liberty. Many Americans equate liberty with protecting individual rights and property. But, Schwartz writes, that one-sided view ignores the responsibilities that come with liberty. He calls this philosophy “liberty-first” because it places liberty above all other values, such as equality, justice and compassion. The result is an egocentric, government-fearing mentality that carries grave political and environmental consequences for an increasingly crowded planet. “The near-obsessive focus on liberty to the exclusion of other important values and concepts is part of what is causing the world’s problems and undermining America’s leadership and respect,” he writes. Schwartz pits himself against libertarians and other far-right politicos by advancing a “responsibility-first” philosophy. At its core is the belief that humans, past and present, are irrevocably interdependent. So, along with our rights, we have obligations to each other. Controversial, ponderous and intensely argued, the book attacks principles many Americans take for granted. Concepts such as “natural rights” and “self-regulating markets” come under blistering critique as Schwartz probes their origins in the writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith and others. The implications of his philosophy are far-reaching: It reconsiders the nature of government, property, labor and natural resources in the pursuit of a more equitable and sustainable future. Overall, the book strikes a good balance between scholarly rigor and popular appeal. Endnotes are used judiciously, helping to keep the narrative free of academic quibbling. The prose is articulate and carefully worded, only occasionally blemished by long-winded sentences. Conservatives may find the book troubling, but few can disagree that with a global population of 7 billion and growing, humans must find new ways to coexist peaceably. For Schwartz, that means broadening our views on civic life.

Liberty as a human ideal may never seem more powerful—or problematic—after reading these pages.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9828325-1-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Other Ideas Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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