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Publisher's Summary

It can be argued that one simple idea - the concept of freedom - has been the driving force of Western civilization and may be the most influential intellectual force the world has ever known. But what is freedom, exactly? These 36 engaging lectures tell the dramatic story of freedom from ancient Greece to our own day, exploring a concept so close to us we may never have considered it with the thoroughness it deserves.

In exploring what freedom meant to Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, and other great historical figures, you'll probe a range of provocative issues related to a concept we in the 21st century sometimes take for granted. What does it take to be free, to have and to hold liberty? What role do the liberal arts and the world of the intellect play in the life of a free society or a free individual? How should we understand the relationship among freedom, religion, and morality?

With Professor Fears guiding and informing your thinking, you explore the birth of the idea of freedom in Greece and the story of the world's first democracy; the status and meaning of freedom in both the Roman Republic and the Empire; the role of Christianity in that flowering of freedom, and the Christian view of the true meaning of human liberation; the debates about freedom that informed the framing and ratification of the United States Constitution; its awful testing on the battlefields of the Civil War; the struggles of free peoples against domestic injustices and foreign dictatorships during the 20th century; and the questions about freedom we still face today.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

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Thoughtful, engaging tour

I suggest first listening to Famous Romans and Famous Greeks as a foundation for this wonderful course, although it would be beneficial even without them.

I love Prof. Fears. His good-humored, unique style of storytelling combined with his vast knowledge and wise insights keep me coming back for more. This course was certainly thought-provoking; don't expect it to be an affirmation of everything you already think. And be aware that you'll be left with a sense of responsibility for the future of freedom.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding history

Fascinating history of ideas and the people who best represented them. Explains so much about how we are today. Highly recommended.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic listen

This should be a required course for all American Citzens. Understand your roots.
Professor Fears is one of the best college orators I have ever heard.
The lectures are concise and to the point and Professor Fears is great at tying them together so the whole course flows from one lecture to the next.

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An Understanding Few Possess

Where does A History of Freedom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Herein describes the nature and portent of freedom; and why the fabric of freedom -- the power behind proactive reality -- is so tangled by two primary beliefs of what freedom means: both to each of us, and then to all of us. The concept made real is fundamental to our being, yet we rarely care to understand why. Described in these lectures is the unyielding yet fluid current that lifts and guides the human spirit, drives our creative endeavors, ultimately to reveal our love and sacrifice. The values and principles of freedom, as a primal force, are given voice in this excellent narrative as the beliefs and activities of historic philosophers, statesmen and messiah. Freedom is a translation, how we give Truth our active voice; understanding why is the greatest power of all.<br/><br/>If you care about freedom as an apex responsibility, then within these lectures you will discover that, "you are not alone".

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Very disappointing

Any additional comments?

I strongly disagree with Professor Fears’ interpretation of freedom; however, that is a minor issue. The major problem is in his condescending attitude towards opposing opinions. There were several points in the lectures where Professor Fears dismisses other viewpoints and interpretations without presenting any argument against them other than his own authority. I think this is a characteristic of Professor Fears as I have seen hints of it in another of his lecture series (The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History). I find this attitude extremely off putting and, as such, find Professor Fears hard to lesson to. I find it rather ironic that a lecture series on freedom is being presented by a man who comes across as authoritarian.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 11-19-16

brilliant

well presented, provocative, informative, challenging. highly recommended. worth listening to again. I will definitely be listening to more lectures by Dr fears.