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The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era Paperback – June 2, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0520256415 ISBN-10: 0520256417

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The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era + The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present + Inventing Human Rights: A History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520256417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520256415
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From a legal viewpoint, human rights are comparatively recent history, but their essence--that a person possesses inviolable qualities by virtue of being a person--is as old as Adam and Eve. Ishay's treatment seeks to survey how those qualities have been defined, and it leans decidedly toward the theoretical, a caution to readers preferring inspirational stories. Ishay presents a spectrum of writers on human rights whom she links through time on themes such as the friction between individual and group rights, or the rights of man versus the prerogatives of the state, as the problem was put in the Enlightenment. It is one of six chronological periods into which the subject is organized, beginning with ancient religious commentary on rights. Following discussion of the Enlightenment's liberal legacy, Ishay develops socialist conceptions of group rights that arose from the Industrial Revolution and that also echo in contemporary concerns with globalization. For scholars of and activists in human rights, Ishay sympathetically furnishes historical contexts for specific causes and campaigns. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“This is an important book for those who focus on human rights in history.”
(Susan Longfield Karr Journal Of World History 2011-12-05)

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peter N. Jones on June 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Human rights are rights considered to be held by individuals simply because they are part of the human species. They are rights, in essence, shared equally by everyone regardless of sex, race, nationality, or ethnic background. They are universal in content. Despite this fairly straight forward definition, the recognition of human rights by individuals, groups, societies, states, and nations has been a constant battle across both space and time. Throughout the centuries groups or societies have failed to recognize certain human rights of individuals, groups, and cultures while at the same time recognizing those of others. Likewise, conflicting political traditions have elaborated different components of human rights or differed over which elements had priority. Today, the manifold meanings of human rights embodied in this definition reflects this process of history and change.

Presenting this long and conflicted history in one of the more accessible and comprehensive editions to date, The History of Human Rights by Micheline R. Ishay is the authoritative text on the subject. Using the main points developed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the book chronicles the clashes of ideas, social movements, and armies that comprise the history of human rights. This history, although largely told from a Western perspective does encompass the perspective of those who have struggled to obtain them. Framing the history of human rights development through six core arguments, The History of Human Rights offers not only a comprehensive history and analysis, but also the basis for a discussion of where human rights needs to progress. This last component is what gives this book particular importance for indigenous peoples.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Ruddy on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although much of the book provides a good background for much of Western history though the goggles of Human Rights, it at time seems to skip and distort aspects of it. How did benevolent religions sanction large scale war? Robespierre was not a champion of human rights by killing 20,000 people. Why are human rights still so in danger today? Don't get me wrong though, if you are looking for a historical read and do not have a lot of knowledge about European History, pick this up.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Mclenaghan on September 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ishay's introduction outlines an ambitious book, tracing human rights' origins and evolution over an immense historical period. However, what the introduction promises the body fails to deliver. Ishay spends most of her time simply recounting European history, and even that is done in such a maddeningly tangential way as to render it essentially useless. The book is a collection of facts, utterly lacking a cohesive argument or understanding. And some attempts are simply laughable - her attempt to explain the hegemony of the Western conception of rights is bland paraphrasing of Jared Diamond and leaves a question that could occupy the entire volume to be answered in mere pages. Please save your time and buy something else!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Francesco Lovecchio on July 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended to everybody. The book is an attempt to provide an account of the evolution of human rights over time and through political and philosophical thought. The author is well versed in political science and shows it off in this book while surfing in a very wide literature. It is well written. Two drawbacks in this beautiful book: not enough history of human rights; a scarce attention to those movements which paved the way to future developments but were unsuccessfull at first. Great piece of work anyway! Look forward for Vol. II.
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