Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty.

Author:Mason, Jack
Position:Book review

Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty

Dan Jones

Viking Books

c/o Penguin Group USA

375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

9780525428299, $27.95, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles, even its language, can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status? In "Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty", author and historian Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agree to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king's high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries.

Jones's riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta's creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unespected afterlife. Reissued by King John's successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits...

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