In the 1990s, liberalism of one stamp or another seemed to be sweeping all other ideologies before it. Now it appears to be foundering. Not only is it rejected as a political philosophy by the political establishment in China, Russia, across much of the Middle East and elsewhere, but it is also under siege in its traditional heartlands in North America and Western Europe. Here you can kind find books looking at every aspect of liberalism, its beliefs, history and evolution.
The journalist and author Franklin Foer looks at the roots of liberalism and Columbia University historian, Eric Foner, the evolution of liberalism. Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman discusses the books that inspired him and former leader of the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party, Nick Clegg, selects his favourite books. Three of our interviewees, including Nick Clegg, choose Five Books' most recommended book, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty.
We have interviews recommending books dedicated to the central tenets of liberalism. The journalist John Kampfner chooses his best books on freedom, while Timothy Stanton, professor of politics at York University, recommends books exploring the notion of toleration. Expert on the subject Claire Fox—a broadcaster, former MEP and director of the Academy of Ideas—chooses her top books on freedom of speech.
Many of our interviews on liberalism look at the American experience; we have, for example, a series recommending books on “progressivism”. Former Secretary of State John Kerry selects his top five books on progressivism and talks about what he means by the term. Former mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa discusses progressive America and the pro-choice activist Cecile Richards assesses how progressives can make a difference. The environmental campaigner and civil rights activist Van Jones addresses change in America, while the noted progressive blogger, Matthew Yglesias, explains his influences. Keith Ellison, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also talks about what progressivism means to him.
Much as some Brexiteers like to pretend it isn’t, England is not only in Europe, but has been, in various centuries and in various ways, at the very heart of it. The former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, Nick Clegg, discusses his favourite European novels and the founding text of his own political ideology, liberalism.
Paul Krugman, Nobel prize-winning economist, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, and Emeritus Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton, discusses the books that most influenced his formation as a liberal economist.
As American congressman Keith Ellison—the first Muslim elected to Congress—enters the race to chair the Democratic National Committee, reread this interview on the cause he stands for: progressivism — and the best books to read to fully understand it.
Cecile Richards, American pro-choice activist and former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discusses the stories of struggle and resilience that have inspired her and can give encouragement to others seeking change