How To Be A Liberal: The Story of Freedom and the Fight for its Survival: Exclusive Edition (Paperback)
  • How To Be A Liberal: The Story of Freedom and the Fight for its Survival: Exclusive Edition (Paperback)
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How To Be A Liberal: The Story of Freedom and the Fight for its Survival: Exclusive Edition (Paperback)

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Paperback 496 Pages / Published: 02/09/2021
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Waterstones Says

Political journalist Ian Dunt presents a cogent and engaging defence of liberalism, showing why its commitment to truth and freedom can function as a much-needed antidote to the rampant nationalism and anti-intellectualism of our day.

Exclusive Edition which contains an extra essay

A standard edition is available here

The authoritarian right is taking control. From Viktor Orban in Hungary, to Brexit in Britain, to Donald Trump in America, nationalists have launched an all-out assault on liberal values. In this groundbreaking new book, political journalist Ian Dunt tells the story of liberalism, from its birth in the fight against absolute monarchy to the modern-day resistance against the new populism.

In a soaring narrative that stretches from the battlefields of the English Civil War to the 2008 financial crash and beyond, this vivid, page-turning book explains the political ideas which underpin the modern world. But it is also something much more than that - it is a rallying cry for those who still believe in freedom and reason.

Publisher: Canbury Press
ISBN: 2928377065010
Number of pages: 496
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 35 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'A tour de force; a mighty trumpet blast for the forces of liberalism and enlightenment in the face of a global tide of ignorance and populism.' - The Secret Barrister

'This is a history of ideas as it should be written - brilliant, vivid story-telling about the people who shaped liberalism, the challenges it has faced over the centuries, its commitment to the truth and why it's now more important than ever to defend it.' - Caroline Lucas MP

'Dunt's gift for making complicated issues comprehensible is second to none. Courageous.' - James O'Brien, LBC

'How To Be A Liberal is required reading for today's political debates.' - Anne Applebaum, Twilight of Democracy

'Clear-eyed and hard-headed. His defence of liberalism is political writing at its most urgent and engaging.' - Nick Cohen, Observer

'A phenomenal history from a truly big mind.' - David Schneider, The Death of Stalin

'In an age of rampant nationalism and anti-intellectualism, this book urges us to celebrate complexity and diversity. Dunt, editor of the website politics.co.uk, counterposes liberalism and nationalism, the latter of which, he writes, is based on a sixfold lie. Among its elements are the thought that we can have only one identity at a time, which makes us "part of the mass: an undifferentiated component of the whole," and the contention that any difference from that mass is bad. We see the sixth component, "there is no such thing as truth," enacted with every Trump tweet. As Orwell knew, when politicians can get away with lies, lie they will; if the concepts of truth and falsehood disappear, then they will do as they please. Having established this sixfold premise, Dunt examines the evolution of the idea of liberalism, at least some of which he traces back to Descartes and his obsession with the "gap between dream and reality, the thin line between being awake and...the crazed world of dreaming"-i.e., the foundational stuff of truth and lies. While Descartes is seldom pressed into political work, Dunt makes a good case for doing so. Other figures in the battle against authoritarianism include some of the usual suspects, such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill-who was careful to give credit to his partner, Harriet Taylor, a woman who even so "was erased" from the historical record. The paucity of intellectualism on the far right, an ideology "pumped into the heart and pursued with the fist," is as evident now as it was a century ago. In a book that makes a good companion to Adam Gopnik's A Thousand Small Sanities, Dunt takes down a few politically correct absurdities, but most of his fire is aimed squarely at Trump, Theresa May, Marine Le Pen, and other enemies of freedom. When in the course of human events it falls on us to resist, this makes a welcome guidebook.' - Kirkus

'A journalist who has come to prominence on Twitter as a staunch critic of Brexit, Dunt has delved into heavy academic theory and interpreted it in an accessible manner for the ordinary reader. He describes liberalism as "an enormous, boisterous, confounding bloody thing," and writes passionately in its favour, as a counterweight to ignorance and populism. This book is required reading for anyone interested in politics and philosophy.' - Prospect

'All of Ian Dunt's How to be a Liberal is essential reading, but the chapter on Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill is blistering, eye-opening stuff.' - Shakespeare & Company bookstore

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