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.
"The year's most lyrical and necessary book on liberty. The Magna Carta Manifesto is such a pleasure to read that it is easy to forget that it provides essential arguments for renewing civil liberties in the U.S. and internationally."-The Nation
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.