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Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention
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Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  62 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This gripping and important book brings alive over two hundred years of humanitarian interventions. Freedom’s Battle illuminates the passionate debates between conscience and imperialism ignited by the first human rights activists in the 19th century, and shows how a newly emergent free press galvanized British, American, and French citizens to action by exposing them to d ...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Vintage (first published 2008)
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John Hopkins
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an enlightening and valuable history that should be disturbing to those who cheered President Trump's America-first-and-only nationalism. It shows individuals of courage and vision doing battle with inertia and narrow concepts of national interest that so often have overshadowed humanitarian concerns. I also enjoyed learning more about the role that an emerging free press played in the a great debates of the Victorian era. I'll be looking for Professor Bass's latest work for help in unde ...more
Fredrick Danysh
An academic dissertation on what some call humanitarian intervention and others could call imperialism. A century of intervention by the major world powers are discussed.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author demonstrates that humanitarian intervention is not a modern invention, but it has roots that go at least as deep into 19th century politics and international relations. Three historic cases are analyzed: Greek War of Independence (1821-1832), when an Allied force of British, French and Russian vessels defeated an Ottoman armada in the Battle of Navarino; expedition of Austrian, British, French, Prussian and Russian forces into Syria during the 1860 Druze–Maronite conflict; and Russo-T ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just started this book, but his opening premise put me off a bit. While I understand his point that humanitarian intervention is not a new thing, using the Victorian Era as some kind of guiding light seems far-fetched both because it was also an era of colonialism, and because the world was so different then that there is simply no comparison. Perhaps humanitarian intervention is more controversial now because, with ostensible aggressor and aggressee living next door to each other and oftentim ...more
Sep 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, phd
Reviews four instances of actual, near or pretend 'humanitarian intervention' in the 19th century (Greece, Syria, Bulgaria, Armenia - some reflection on Cuba), both as lessons for today and to suggest that such action is hardly a new idea.

Nice to read some well-researched, non-contemporary case studies, but unimpressed with Bass's conclusions, which are mostly (a) obvious, (b) irrelevant to contemporary global order, or (c) contradictory. Might have been more useful as a mediation on norm entrep
Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gary Bass has written an innovative book that broadens the idea of humanitarian intervention. Though we might like to regard contemporary anti-genocide campaigns as unique achievements of our times, Freedom's Battle offers a striking and original argument that activists and politicians of the 19th century paved the way with a series of interventions to stop the slaughter of innocents. Bass's new and provocative reading of 19th-century political history teaches us how to better react to the genoc ...more
Margaret Sankey
Purporting to "shatter" the misconception that humanitarian intervention was invented by Jimmy Carter, this thoroughly unnecessary book drags through the 19th century with glosses of the Greek Rebellion, Bulgarians, the Crimean War and Armenians, "proving" that because the British and the French needed the Ottoman Empire, their interventions were actually totally philanthropic on behalf of beleaguered people--some of whom weren't even Christians! They didn't have ulterior motives! See, everyone ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The historical part - humanitarian interventions and wars in the 19th century - was interesting. But the modern part - the lessons of the 19th century and how they can be applied today - got a little preachy.
Dec 22, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
my professor!
Is a good historical overview, but neglects to address the issue of how lessons of 19th century humanitarianism can be applied today.
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Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, is the author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide (Knopf); Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention (Knopf); and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton).

The Blood Telegram was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction and w
More about Gary J. Bass...