by Rachel Bridgewater

Library Journal Reviews
September 1, 2008

Bass, Gary J. Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian
Intervention. Knopf . 2008. c.528p. index. ISBN 978-0-307-26648-4
. $30. POL SCI

Kosovo. Rwanda. Darfur. The Congo. Just the names of these places
conjure the struggle that other nations face when trying to end the
slaughter and abuse of people in far-off lands. Though we may think
of this concern for human rights as being relatively recent, possibly
starting with the Wilson administration, Bass (international affairs,
Princeton Univ.) here places the tradition of humanitarian intervention
into its 19th-century context in a timely, enlightening, and gripping
book. In describing a rich history of morally motivated intervention,
largely by the British and the French, Bass challenges the belief
that such involvement in the affairs of other nations must, at its
core, have imperialistic motivations. The work explores the political
and cultural milieus in which humanitarian responses to atrocities
in Greece, Syria, Bulgaria, and Armenia arose, especially the role
of increasingly free presses in rallying public sentiment. The very
best kind of historical writing, Bass's work is lively, moving, deep,
and full of insight for today's challenges. Highly recommended for
both scholars and history buffs in all libraries.-Rachel Bridgewater,
Reed Coll., Portland, OR