Freedom and Its Betrayal
and Liberty

‘Let no one think that we no longer need strong arguments in defence of liberty.’
Stein Ringen, reviewing both books in the Times Literary Supplement

UK edition

US edition
‘all the vigour, pace and raciness of live talks ... We shall not see his like again.’
John Banville, Irish Times
‘These essays continue to stand as a powerful defence of liberty, and a warning against the passions of fanatics and fundamentalists of all creeds across the centuries.’
Joshua Cherniss, Oxonian Review of Books
‘Berlin’s train of thought is a joy to follow, never dull or dry ... If you had to grab only one book of his off the shelves, you could do worse than take this one’
Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
‘a perfect introduction to Berlin’
Richard D. North, Independent
‘Berlin is possessed of an extraordinary gift for explaining complex ideas in clear and simple language, without appearing to dumb down, back off or gloss needlessly ... Masterful.’
Good Book Guide
‘Berlin at his best: forceful without being bombastic, energetic without exaggerating, erudite without showing off’
Peter Watson, The Times Higher Education Supplement
‘Isaiah Berlin’s ground-breaking radio lectures’
Bridget Kendall, ‘The Age of Freedom’, BBC Radio 3
‘in a remarkably narrow compass [Berlin] takes us deep into the crisis of modern political ideas and makes us experience all the contradictions and complexities of our situation’
Mark Lilla, New York Review of Books
‘short enough for a single sitting, but meaty enough to warrant sustained investigation ... [Berlin] argues forcefully, and with rather astounding erudition, that negative freedom is our essential value. And he contends that without it, tyranny will emerge, only disguised as a new brand of freedom.’
Eric de Place,
‘the most famous lectures Berlin ever gave ... they fascinated and astounded their listeners, quickly turning Isaiah Berlin into a household name. Never before had someone addressed such abstract topics with such fluency and intensity ... these lectures, while presupposing no specialist expertise, introduce ... some of the key issues in modern political theory in an enthusiastic and quite unpatronising way.’
Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph
‘When Sir Isaiah Berlin died in 1997, he left behind many unpublished writings. Freedom and its Betrayal is the most recent of these to appear in print, and among the most important. Based on lectures that Berlin delivered for the BBC in 1952, the book offers brief portraits of six major thinkers who were united by their refusal to let individuals live as they choose. Considering how murky intellectual history can sometimes seem, these lectures are astonishing for their lucidity and power.’
Darrin M. McMahon, Wall Street Journal
‘In clear, precise prose, Berlin approaches the philosophy of each of his subjects, first giving a fair overview of their central thoughts before submitting them to a masterly scrutiny and dissection, explaining where and how their ideas lead not, as they contended, to an extension of human happiness and freedom but a curtailment of liberty.’
Pete Whittaker, Tribune

‘A magnificent and indispensable volume: the best introduction to the most important and enduring of Berlin’s ideas.’
John Gray
‘the collected thoughts of Berlin on freedom ... here is the achievement, set out in all its glory’
Peter Watson, The Times Higher Education Supplement
‘For anyone wishing to have the essence of Berlin’s thinking, Liberty is the volume’
John Banville, Irish Times
Liberty ... not only offers a comprehensive overview of Isaiah Berlin’s main topics and ideas, but also enables us to understand the development and relevance of those ideas in the context of his personality.’
Steffen Groß, Dialektik
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