Catalogue

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Fairness and freedom : a history of two open societies, New Zealand and the United States /
David Hackett Fischer.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
description
xxv, 629 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0199832706 (acid-free paper), 9780199832705 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
isbn
0199832706 (acid-free paper)
9780199832705 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
8526503
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-01-01:
At first glance, a comparative history of New Zealand and the United States may seem odd. A visiting professorship brought Fischer (history, Brandeis Univ.; Washington's Crossing) to New Zealand and drew his focus to the country's history and politics. He noticed that the political rhetoric there centered on ideals of fairness and justice, while Americans still seem to value freedom and liberty. He traces the roots of both countries in the British Empire, their relations with native peoples, and expanding rights for women and minorities, while contrasting their approaches to political rights and economic justice. VERDICT Although Fischer wants to make this book a comparative study of the grand political ideals of fairness and freedom (a global scope would have worked well for that goal and justified the length), ultimately it's more an introduction to New Zealand history, made more understandable for Americans with the addition of basic U.S. history. Best for Americans interested in learning more about New Zealand's history, the British Empire, and international political history or for potential study-abroad students.-Kate Stewart, American Folklife Ctr., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2012-07-01:
Fischer's illuminating comparative history of the US and New Zealand, two "open" societies noted for their democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, pluralist cultures, and commitment to the rule of law, focuses primarily on what sets these societies apart. For Fischer (Brandeis), one of the most distinctive attributes of US culture is its obsession with freedom; New Zealanders are far more committed to fairness and social justice. He seeks to explain why this is the case and how differences manifested themselves throughout each nation's history. From its inception, "every major group in America's great colonial migrations shared a particular concern for liberty and freedom . . . New Zealand's British colonists had a special concern for justice, equity, and fairness--three ideas not one." These cultural orientations expressed themselves in the nation-building process, foreign policy, and race relations. Although Maori-Pakeha relations featured many of the same injustices displayed in other settler societies, the Waitangi Tribunal of the late 20th century "has given new depth of meaning to New Zealand's founding principles of fairness and justice." Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. J. O. Gump University of San Diego
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-12-12:
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Fischer (Washington's Crossing) speculates about what in the differing histories and cultures of the U.S. and New Zealand explains the American emphasis on personal freedom and the Pacific nation's elevation of equitableness to a cultural norm. As always, Fischer briskly moves through a vast amount of history as he spins his thesis that differing histories of such factors as settlement, immigration, ecology, native inhabitants, and governance explain each nation's distinctiveness. This is comparative history at its liveliest, looking, for instance, at why Maori culture has been so much more influential in New Zealand than Native American culture in the U.S. Trouble is, Fischer assumes what he seeks to demonstrate. Also, the book is too filled with first-person stories and (typically for Fischer) overly schematic. Nor does the fact that he spent time Down Under justify his choice to compare these two nations as opposed to, say, Australia and Canada, two other nations established largely out of British roots. Thus this book is inventive while not convincing, deft while methodologically thin. Photos, 93 b&w illus., maps. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A pioneering, illuminating, and at times startling book...Ambitious and observant...Fairness and Freedom is a work of frequently profound historical and social analysis" --The Atlantic, also selected as one of the 15 best books reviewed in The Atlantic or published in 2012 "[FAIRNESS AND FREEDOM] provides valuable insight into the American identity . . . In an era of increasing inequality, his is a timely argument, and one well worth hearing." --Washington Post Book World "So far it is the best non-fiction book of the year, by a clear mark." --Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com
"A pioneering, illuminating, and at times startling book...Ambitious and observant...Fairness and Freedomis a work of frequently profound historical and social analysis" --The Atlantic "[FAIRNESS AND FREEDOM] provides valuable insight into the American identity . . . In an era of increasing inequality, his is a timely argument, and one well worth hearing." --Washington Post Book World "So far it is the best non-fiction book of the year, by a clear mark." --Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com
"Comparative history at its liveliest." --Publishers Weekly
"[FAIRNESS AND FREEDOM] provides valuable insight into the American identity . . . In an era of increasing inequality, his is a timely argument, and one well worth hearing." --Washington Post Book World "So far it is the best non-fiction book of the year, by a clear mark." --Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com "Comparative history at its liveliest." --Publishers Weekly
"Fischer has written an engaging work of interest to both general readers and historians. His excellent introduction to the relative weighting of thse key values in New Zealand and the United States should encourage scholars to emabrk on broader studies of why shared commitments to fairness and freedom have resulted in different balances in the histories of open societies." --Journal of American History "A pioneering, illuminating, and at times startling book...Ambitious and observant...Fairness and Freedom is a work of frequently profound historical and social analysis" --The Atlantic, also selected as one of the 15 best books reviewed in The Atlantic or published in 2012 "[FAIRNESS AND FREEDOM] provides valuable insight into the American identity . . . In an era of increasing inequality, his is a timely argument, and one well worth hearing." --Washington Post Book World "So far it is the best non-fiction book of the year, by a clear mark." --Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com
Part travelogue, part geography primer, part journalistic reflection, Fischer's book is a masterly attempt to sketch and compare the historical development of the United States and New Zealand ... Fairness and Freedom abounds with captivating characters
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, December 2011
Library Journal, January 2012
Washington Post, February 2012
Choice, July 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This title compares the history of two open societies - New Zealand and the United States - with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law.
Main Description
Fairness and Freedom compares the history of two open societies - New Zealand and the United States - with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But allof these elements take different forms, because constellations of value are far apart. The dream of living free is America's Polaris; fairness and natural justice are New Zealand's Southern Cross. Fischer asks why these similar countries went different ways. Both were founded by English-speaking colonists, but at different times and with disparate purposes. They lived in the first and second British Empires, which operated in very different ways. Indians and Maori were important agents ofchange, but to different ends. On the American frontier and in New Zealand's Bush, material possibilities and moral choices were not the same. Fischer takes the same comparative approach to parallel processes of nation-building and immigration, women's rights and racial wrongs, reform causes andconservative responses, war-fighting and peace-making, and global engagement in our own time - with similar results. On another level, this book expands Fischer's past work on liberty and freedom. It is the first book to be published on the history of fairness. And it also poses new questions in the old tradition of history and moral philosophy. Is it possible to be both fair and free? In a vast array ofevidence, Fischer finds that the strengths of these great values are needed to correct their weaknesses. As many societies seek to become more open - never twice in the same way, an understanding of our differences is the only path to peace.
Main Description
Fairness and Freedomcompares the history of two open societies--New Zealand and the United States--with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But all of these elements take different forms, because constellations of value are far apart. The dream of living free is America's Polaris; fairness and natural justice are New Zealand's Southern Cross. Fischer asks why these similar countries went different ways. Both were founded by English-speaking colonists, but at different times and with disparate purposes. They lived in the first and second British Empires, which operated in very different ways. Indians and Maori were important agents of change, but to different ends. On the American frontier and in New Zealand's Bush, material possibilities and moral choices were not the same. Fischer takes the same comparative approach to parallel processes of nation-building and immigration, women's rights and racial wrongs, reform causes and conservative responses, war-fighting and peace-making, and global engagement in our own time--with similar results. On another level, this book expands Fischer's past work on liberty and freedom. It is the first book to be published on the history of fairness. And it also poses new questions in the old tradition of history and moral philosophy. Is it possible to be both fair and free? In a vast array of evidence, Fischer finds that the strengths of these great values are needed to correct their weaknesses. As many societies seek to become more open--never twice in the same way, an understanding of our differences is the only path to peace.
Main Description
This work compares the history of two open societies--New Zealand and the United States--with much in common. Both have democratic politics, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But all of these elements take different forms, because constellations of value are far apart.
Table of Contents
Preface: Two Americans in New Zealandp. ix
Introduction: Fairness and Freedomp. 3
Origins of Open Societies
Settler Societiesp. 31
Two British Empiresp. 68
Indians and Maorip. 95
Frontier and Bushp. 139
Nation Building as open Processes
Federalists and Centralistsp. 173
Immigrants, Voluntary and Assistedp. 205
Women's Rightsp. 228
Racist Wrongsp. 263
Lib-Labs and Progressivesp. 296
Open Societies in world Affairs
Foreign Affairs, External Relationsp. 333
Great Crash and Long Slumpp. 368
Military Traditionsp. 407
World Crisisp. 444
Conclusion: Learning to Be Free and Fairp. 475
Appendix: Fairness in Other Disciplinesp. 495
Notesp. 507
List of Mapsp. 576
List of Illustrationsp. 580
Acknowledgmentsp. 589
Indexp. 593
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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