Fairness and Freedom

A History of Two Open Societies; New Zealand and the United States
. 978-0-19983-270-5. History
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.
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