"This well-written book, chock-full of knowledge, presents a history of the idea, or ideas, of human rights through the prism of the author's thoughtful views on key controversies that bedevil human rights discourse to this day."Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chair, University of Essex Human Rights Centre; Member, (UN) Human Rights Committee
Ishay (Graduate Sch. of International Studies, Univ. of Denver) has undertaken the difficult task of abstracting the origins and development of modern human rights from recorded history. The result is a panoramic view that demands much of the reader but ultimately satisfies through imaginative scholarship and scrupulous detail. The author balances her assessment of the intellectual legacies of religious tradition, Marxist thought, and the Enlightenment with an analysis of efforts to protect human rights in the postwar era. The UN's universalism, typified by the Universal Declaration, remains a major focus of the human rights struggle, but Ishay finds that globalization threatens the place of civil society as a buffer to claims of the state and a needed space for resistance to corporate power. Some readers may fault the author's debt to postmodernism and to Marxists like Antonio Gramsci, but she convincingly identifies current progress in human rights with the progressive Left. Consistent attention to the situation of women's rights and occasional sidebar extracts from original sources further enhance the book's value. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Zachary T. Irwin, Sch. of Humanities & Social Science, Pennsylvania State, Erie Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.