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We Are Free to Change the World

© Jacket photograph courtesy of the Hannah Arendt Bluecher Literary Trust / Art Resource, NY

This bold new take on the life and ideas of political philosopher Hannah Arendt explores her lessons for living in an age of uncertainty

The violent unease of today's world would have been all too familiar to Hannah Arendt. Tyranny, occupation, disenchantment, post-truth politics, conspiracy theories, racism, mass migration, the banality of evil: she had lived through them all.

Born in the first decade of the last century, Arendt escaped fascist Europe to make a new life for herself in America, where she became one of the world's most influential - and controversial - public intellectuals. She wrote about power and terror, exile and love, and above all about freedom. Questioning - thinking - was her first defense against tyranny. In place of the forces of darkness and insanity, she pitched a politics of plurality, spontaneity and defiance. Loving the world, Arendt taught, meant finding the courage to protect it.

Written with passion and authority, Lyndsey Stonebridge's We Are Free to Change the World illuminates Arendt's life and work and its urgent dialogue with our troubled present. It is a clarion call for each of us to think our way, as Hannah Arendt did-unflinchingly, lovingly, and defiantly-through our own unpredictable times.

'A splendid, ever-so-timely consideration of Arendt and her thoughts on how nations sink into tyranny.' - Starred Kirkus Review

'An absorbing new biography ... [Lyndsey Stonebridge] imagines her way into Arendt’s life, in places literally retracing her subject’s footsteps, sensing the climate and smelling the (typically smoke-filled) air in an effort of understanding.’The Economist

‘Invigorating and insightful… An exhilarating and thoroughly humanising portrait of one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century… With impressive clarity and infectious passion, she follows the currents of Arendt’s thought to a rousing conclusion.’ – The FT

‘Stonebridge paints a tender picture of Arendt as a person not just a brilliant mind. In parts, it is so affectionate that it is hard to believe they are not contemporaries; that the biographer never actually met her subject outside of the pages of her books. – THEOS

‘Lyndsey Stonebridge’s timely biography is compelling and original… [her] analytical tact is a virtue when it comes to unpicking Arendt’s complexities.’ - The Observer

'We Are Free to Change the World lightens both the darkness of the times we live in and the burdens we carry on our shoulders. Both serious and joyful, readers of this wonderful book will think and laugh.’– Jerome Kohn, Trustee, Hannah Arendt Blücher Literary Trust

'In this extraordinary book, Lyndsey Stonebridge details the life and thought of Hannah Arendt in ways that speak to our troublesome times.  We get a sense of the expansiveness of Arendt’s thought—her vulnerabilities and her complexity—with stories and intimate details that reveal Stonebridge’s love of her.  Beautifully written. WE ARE FREE TO CHANGE THE WORLD is biography at its best.'  – Eddie Glaude, author of Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

'This is a bold and exhilarating book. It sparkles with ideas and plumbs new depths in the great Hannah Arendt’s thinking. Stonebridge brilliantly brings our own troubled times and Arendt’s face to face with one another to wake us into urgency and into greater appreciation of an iconic woman.' - Dr Lisa Appignanesi OBE FRSL

‘Expertly analysed and beautifully written, Stonebridge on Arendt is a rare gem, combining painstaking, complex history and stark contemporary resonance with sparks of hope that we really are free to change the world.’ – Shami Chakrabarti

'An invigorating and fresh invitation into the world of Hannah Arendt's life/work connection.. Stonebridge has great facility with a complex range of sources and her accessible and thoughtful writing allows the reader to glide into a complex engagement with ease and joy.' – Sarah Schulman

'An exhilarating, brilliant and utterly original read, an iconic 20th century figure brought to life in all her facets, splendours and complexities.’– Phillipe Sands

'Both a warmly engaging intellectual biography and a tract for the times, this is a needful reminder of what political thinking looks like when it is humane, literate  and radical all at once.' – Rowan Williams

'The book about Hannah Arendt I’ve always wanted to read, that only Lyndsey Stonebridge could write. A passionate, original defense of the politics of thinking, and especially of women thinking in public, We are Free to Change the World is witty, moving, and inspiring, at once fiercely angry and a work of deep moral wisdom. An extraordinary book that I wish everyone would read — especially those who wonder if they have anything to learn from it.’- Sarah Churchwell

'Erudite and passionate.. a superb read' - Maria Popova

Agent: Zoë Waldie
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