Freedom: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture

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This magisterial work traces the history of our most cherished value. Patterson links the birth of freedom in primitive societies with the institution of slavery, and traces the evolution of three forms of freedom in the West from antiquity through the Middle Ages.

The National Book Award Winner for 1991--a magisterial work that traces the history of our most cherished value. The first history of freedom from ancient to modern times, this book links the birth of ...

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1991 Hardcover Basic Books, 1991. As new., Hardcover, Octavo, 496. Bright, clean, tight, in dust jacket. Remainder mark, otherwise new, unused. Packed and shipped with care.

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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates, DJ tears etc. ISBN 0465025358

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1991 Hard cover 1ST PRINTING New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 487 p. Freedom, 1. Audience: General/trade. 1ST PRINTING

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1991 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 487 p. Freedom, 1. Audience: General/trade.

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1991 Hardcover New 0465025358. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened-487 pages. From "Publishers Weekley": "How did freedom--personal, civic and political--become ... such a powerful value in the Western world? According to this groundbreaking study, the interaction among masters, slaves, serfs and native nonslaves in ancient times gave rise to both the concept of freedom and a commitment to it. Harvard sociology professor Patterson argues that male, small-time farmers, through their relations with large-scale, slaveholding counterparts, gave birth to civic freedom as a value. He further contends that it was women who invented the ideal of personal freedom, which was closely linked to justice, and being true to oneself and to `significant others. ' Challenging conventional readings of the so-called Dark Ages, Patterson holds that chords of freedom resounded through the medieval period. First half of a projected two-volume opus, this intellectually rich work redefines a whole field of inquiry as it Read more Show Less

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Overview


This magisterial work traces the history of our most cherished value. Patterson links the birth of freedom in primitive societies with the institution of slavery, and traces the evolution of three forms of freedom in the West from antiquity through the Middle Ages.

The National Book Award Winner for 1991--a magisterial work that traces the history of our most cherished value. The first history of freedom from ancient to modern times, this book links the birth of freedom in primitive societies with the institution of slavery. "An extraordinary achievement . . . astonishingly wide ranging."--Boston Globe. Index. Illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How did freedom--personal, civic and political--become such a powerful value in the Western world? According to this groundbreaking study, the interaction among masters, slaves, serfs and native nonslaves in ancient times gave rise to both the concept of freedom and a commitment to it. Harvard sociology professor Patterson argues that male, small-time farmers, through their relations with large-scale, slaveholding counterparts, gave birth to civic freedom as a value. He further contends that it was women who invented the ideal of personal freedom, which was closely linked to justice, and being true to oneself and to ``significant others.'' Challenging conventional readings of the so-called Dark Ages, Patterson holds that chords of freedom resounded through the medieval period. First half of a projected two-volume opus, this intellectually rich work redefines a whole field of inquiry as it ranges over Greek tragedy and philosophy, Roman history, the emergence of Christianity, and medieval secular and religious thought. (June)
Library Journal
Patterson, a Harvard sociologist, argues that the idea of freedom is the supreme value in the Western world and increasingly so in the rest of the world. This book, the first of a projected two-volume inquiry, seeks to answer the question of how it became such a powerful and popular value. His basic thesis is that freedom as a value derived from the experience of slavery in the ancient world. He then traces the fate of the idea of freedom in the Roman empire, during the rise of Christianity, and in the Middle Ages. He further distinguishes between personal, sovereign, and civic freedom and analyzes the potential evils in each of these freedoms; e.g., personal liberty has led to unbridled capitalism, sovereign freedom to dictatorship, and civic freedom to the oppression of minorities. This is a scholarly treatise, but given the importance of the subject, it is highly recommended for public as well as academic libraries.-- Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
Booknews
A great (both in reach and accomplishment) piece of work by the distinguished sociologist (Harvard U.), volume 1 of the projected two- volume history of freedom traces the evolution of freedom from Greece in the sixth and fifth centuries BC through the permutations wrought by imperial Rome and the Middle Ages. Unsurprisingly, the Jamaican- born Patterson, long-concerned with the problems of oppression in both his early novels and later analytic studies, is particularly good on the relationship between the birth of freedom and the institution of slavery. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
The first half of a comprehensive history of the development of Western notions of liberty and freedom. Harvard sociologist Patterson (Slavery and Social Depth, 1982, etc.) goes beyond the usual framework of intellectual history to show how European culture gave birth to, and was itself formed by, the concept of personal liberty. Patterson begins with the thesis that the idea of freedom was generated reactively—that is, in response to the daily spectacle of institutionalized slavery. To be free was, most obviously, not to be a slave. The Peloponnesian War, by subjecting an unprecedented number of captives to slavery, brought the awareness of freedom to the fore of society's attention as never before and provided the impetus for much of Greek drama and philosophy, Patterson says. The notion of the slave as someone legally dead, whose life was forfeit by circumstance and who lived only through the will of the master, created an intellectual tension that was answered by concepts of tragedy and redemption. These ideas were later amplified by the Roman stoics, but it was only in the nascent cult of Christianity—and preeminently in the writings of St. Paul and St. Augustine—that they reached their most systematic development. Patterson is at pains to show also that the sensibility to issues of freedom and constraint is a particularly "feminine" process, since women always and everywhere comprised the great majority of those enslaved. His examination of the Middle Ages lacks the penetration of his view of antiquity, but he manages to depict the fledgling birth of nationalism and absolutism as they arose out of the struggles for loyalty engendered by urbanization and risingprosperity. A profound and authoritative work that breaks new ground in its approach and will possibly alter the course of social studies for years to come.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465025350
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Series: Freedom, #1
  • Pages: 496

Meet the Author


Orlando Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
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