Monday, May 07, 2007

Pg. 69: Lynn Hunt's "Inventing Human Rights"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Lynn Hunt's Inventing Human Rights.

About the book, from the publisher:
How were human rights invented, and what is their turbulent history?

Human rights is a concept that only came to the forefront during the eighteenth century. When the American Declaration of Independence declared “all men are created equal” and the French proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man during their revolution, they were bringing a new guarantee into the world. But why then? How did such a revelation come to pass? In this extraordinary work of cultural and intellectual history, Professor Lynn Hunt grounds the creation of human rights in the changes that authors brought to literature, the rejection of torture as a means of finding out truth, and the spread of empathy. Hunt traces the amazing rise of rights, their momentous eclipse in the nineteenth century, and their culmination as a principle with the United Nations’s proclamation in 1948. She finishes this work for our time with a diagnosis of the state of human rights today.
Among the praise for Inventing Human Rights:
"[An] exemplary book...."
--Gary J. Bass, The New Republic

"[I]n this remarkable little book ... [Hunt] covers so much ground in so few pages and with such clarity, Inventing Human Rights is a tour de force of compression."
--Gordon Wood, New York Times

"[W]hy and when did we ever start to think that human beings were universally equal, let alone obviously so? Lynn Hunt's elegant Inventing Human Rights offers lucid and original answers."
--Maya Jasanoff, Washington Post

"[A] lively and informative history of human rights...."
--Joshua Muravchik, Wall Street Journal
Read more about Inventing Human Rights at the publisher's website.

Lynn Hunt is a former president of the American Historical Association and the Eugen Weber professor of modern European history at UCLA, and the author of Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution and coauthor of Telling the Truth About History.

The Page 69 Test: Inventing Human Rights.

--Marshal Zeringue