Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Updated "Religious Freedom in the World" Finally Available (Sort of)

rfitw1The long-awaited update to the 2000 edition of Religious Freedom in the World edited by Paul Marshall is finally available.  As described by the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom (which undertook the research),  the 499 page survey describes and analyzes over 100 countries and territories, especially those where religious freedom is most violated. It also ranks them comparatively, includes scores and charts of freedom, details world trends, correlates religious freedom with measures of economic freedom, social wellbeing, civil liberties, and political rights, and features essays on relevant issues by experts such as Paul Marshall, Felix Corley, and others.

Comparing this new edition with the old one (which was produced by Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom), the first difference I noted was the price.  This new edition costs in the $60 range (depending on where you buy it, you might save a buck or two); the old one cost about half that amount.  Granted, the new edition is larger than the previous one and more accessible.  But the cost of this new version will make it prohibitive.  The Voice of the Martyrs sold the previous one; it is doubtful that we will sell the new one given the high price.  That is unfortunate given the value of this book.  The older version was a standard reference text for our staff and the new one will be likewise.  The research in the 2008 edition is excellent, yet accessible to the non-expert.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in having an informed understanding of religious freedom in today's world.  There is no other reference book quite like this one, to be honest.

But there is one final caveat; you have to find a copy first.  For some reason, Hudson Institute is not selling this book on their website (they refer you to which has no stock available).  In Canada, is also out of stock already and they only recently made the book available.  Either it is selling well or they had a very limited stock to begin with.  I suspect the latter, although I hope for the former. The Indigo-Chapters website does not even list the book. Exhausting my Canadian options, I checked Abebooks and found the sellers there trying to rip you off by overpricing the book.  Finally I checked with the U.S. publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, and found it listed there. Having had no experience with them, I can only hope that they will fill my order for three more copies quickly. 

I am afraid that this book, given its price and availability, will not have nearly the distribution that its predecessor had and that is unfortunate given its value.

1 comment:

Glenn Penner said...

Rowman & Littlefield were quite quick. Got my extra three copies today.