The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable

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9780465051328: The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable

Starting with 9/11 and continuing with the struggle for peace in Iraq, the West has been forced to interact more fully with the civilization of Islam. In The Universal Hunger for Liberty, statesman and award-winning author Michael Novak sets forth a new model for facing this challenge-and for healing a still violently fractured world. In place of ongoing conflict, he offers a surprisingly optimistic vision of how the concept of fundamental human liberty-shared by the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions-can heal our cultural, economic, and political differences.

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About the Author:

Michael Novak, a former U.S. ambassador, has served under Democratic and Republican administrations. He is the author of Belief and Unbelief, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, and many other books. His essays and reviews have been published in the New York Times Magazine, National Review, and many others. He presently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Novak lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

From Publishers Weekly:

The desire for and pursuit of liberty is a key thread in both human and intellectual history, argues Novak (Business as a Calling), who goes on to say that despite the relative lack of liberty in the Muslim world, the concept of liberty has deep roots in Islam. This familiar topic is worthy of development, but unfortunately Novak shies away from addressing it in full until toward the book's end. The intellectual bulk of the book lies in his assessment of the philosophical, theological and economic values that drive liberal democratic capitalism. Novak, also the author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, shines when fleshing out these concepts, including "moral ecology" (the way in which our surroundings influence and inform our sense of moral vision), using it as a way to engage the much-debated "clash of civilizations." Novak is particularly keen in his discussions of theology and gauging the extent to which religion will play an increasingly large role in world affairs during the 21st century. He cogently compares Catholicism's relative incorporation of democracy to the differing applications of Islamic law today. Ranging widely, Novak has a tough time developing some of his most relevant and provocative concepts, but offers a nicely contoured overview.
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