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The Magna Carta Manifesto

Liberties and Commons for All

Ph.D. Linebaugh, Peter


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This remarkable book shines a fierce light on the current state of liberty and shows how longstanding restraints against tyranny—and the rights of habeas corpus, trial by jury, and due process of law, and the prohibition of torture—are being abridged. In providing a sweeping history of Magna Carta, the source of these protections since 1215, this powerful book demonstrates how these ancient rights are repeatedly laid aside when the greed of privatization, the lust for power, and the ambition of empire seize a state. Peter Linebaugh draws on primary sources to construct a wholly original history of the Great Charter and its scarcely-known companion, the Charter of the Forest, which was created at the same time to protect the subsistence rights of the poor.

Praise For The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All

“With a passion, eloquence and lyrical reverence for the hard-won freedoms of Old England that take the breath away.”

— The Independent

“The year's most lyrical and necessary book on liberty. The Magna Carta Manifesto is such a pleasure to read.”

— John Nichols

“Shows how restraints against tyranny are being abridged as rights once held inalienable are laid aside.”

— Times Higher Education

“Linebaugh should be commended for the impressive scope of his analysis.”

— Insight Turkey

University of California Press, 9780520260009, 376pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2009

About the Author

Peter Linebaugh is Professor of History at the University of Toledo. He is the author of The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century and coauthor (with Marcus Rediker) of Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic.