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  • Published: 25 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787332522
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $59.99

We Are Free to Change the World

Hannah Arendt’s Lessons in Love and Disobedience

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

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

'Compelling and original' OBSERVER

'An absorbing new biography... Admirable' ECONOMIST

'Invigorating and insightful' FINANCIAL TIMES

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 defence 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 calls on each of us to think our way, as Hannah Arendt did - unflinchingly, lovingly and defiantly - through our own unpredictable times.

  • Published: 25 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787332522
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $59.99

Praise for We Are Free to Change the World

An exhilarating, brilliant and utterly original read; an iconic 20th century figure brought to life in all her facets, splendours and complexities

Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

A passionate, original defence 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

Sarah Churchwell, author of Behold, America

In this this brilliantly imagined and compulsively readable book, Lyndsey Stonebridge reveals how Hannah Arendt’s life and thought across the twentieth century matter to our own time – how she dramatised the interplay of love and loneliness, teaching us how not to miss what is under our noses, and that no freedom survives without the presence of others. For its contemporary relevance and exquisite prose, this is a breathtaking triumph

Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia

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, former Archbishop of Canterbury

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

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, author of On Liberty

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

Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad

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

An invigorating and fresh invitation into the world of Hannah Arendt. Stonebridge's accessible and thoughtful writing allows the reader to glide into a complex engagement with ease and joy

Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show

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

A splendid, ever-so-timely consideration of Arendt and her thoughts on how nations sink into tyranny

Kirkus, *Starred Review*

Lyndsey Stonebridge walks the world in Hannah Arendt’s footsteps, reaching back a hand to bring us along. One feels Arendt is still with us, still commenting on events, still cross, ironic, or ebullient, still brilliant, but also always a person... A brilliant and wonderful book

Bonnie Honig, author of Public Things

This is a book filled with luminous insights not just into Hannah Arendt but into the moral challenges of our times

Jewish Chronicle

An absorbing new biography… Stonebridge does an admirable job… She 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


Scintillating and always bracing... A gripping book.… presenting us with a Hannah Arendt who is all too human

Literary Review

Compelling and original


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

Financial Times

Arendt teaches us here, there is power in our capacity to love… In We Are Free to Change the World, Stonebridge paints a tender picture of Arendt as a person not just a brilliant mind… I think you have to know what love is, too, to write a biography as beautiful and intimate, if not flawless, as this one

Theos Think Tank

A timely and magisterial biography… A critically important overview of Arendt’s life and thought

Irish Times

From Arendt’s life and work Stonebridge fashions a map for navigating our present-day struggles and concerns

Times Literary Supplement

Erudite and passionate... A superb read

Maria Popova, The Marginalian