Towards the Light : The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights That Made the Modern West, Paperback

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

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The often-violent conflicts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were sparked by the pursuit of freedom of thought.

In time, this drive led to bitter fighting, including the English Civil War.

Then came revolutions in America and France that swept away monarchies for more representative forms of government and making possible the abolition of slavery, the enfranchisement of women, and the idea of universal human rights and freedoms.

Each of these struggles was a memorable human drama, and Grayling interweaves the stories of these heroes, including Martin Luther, Mary Wollstonecraft and Rosa Parks, whose sacrifices make us value these precious rights, especially in an age when governments under pressure find it necessary to restrict rights in the name of freedom.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780747592990



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Typically beautifully written history of Liberty from the Reformation to the Patriot Act. Serves as a very useful introduction to the essential discussion about the necessary balance between civil rights, on the one hand, and state security, on the other, in the face of the threat to the west since 9/11: a theme dealt with more directly in Professor Grayling's Liberty in the Age of Terror.Islamicists who hate western society have seemingly succeeded disproportionately in striking at the fundamental principles underpinning that society by causing the successive governments in the US and UK, in particular, to roll back hard-won human rights such as Habeas Corpus, the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy.

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