Democracy

Democracy

Stories From the Long Road to Freedom

Book - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the former secretary of state and bestselling author -- a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

"This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work...Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed." -- The New York Times
From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has served on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.

In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy's challenges into perspective.

When the United States was founded, it was the only attempt at self-government in the world. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Using America's long struggle as a template, Rice draws lessons for democracy around the world -- from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, to Kenya, Colombia, and the Middle East. She finds that no transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backward. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right. But, Rice argues, that does not mean they should not try. While the ideal conditions for democracy are well known in academia, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones.

These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by governments today. The pursuit of democracy is a continuing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing authoritarian regimes, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming mature democracies to better live up to their ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781455540181
1455540188
Characteristics: viii, 486 pages :,illustrations (chiefly color), maps

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rpavlacic
Sep 12, 2017

This book begins with a rather disingenuous premise - that the United States was the ONLY democracy in the world in 1800. (There were others - Switzerland, for example.) But it does go on a worldwide tour of places where democracy has been tried; and why it has succeeded in places like Germany, Poland and Kenya, failed in much of the Middle East, and is in serious trouble in locales like Ukraine and Colombia. The book concludes by saying democracy is the right of all peoples of the world - a given - but also warns it may be not seen as a viable option if America itself reverts to nativism - also a given. (A veiled shot at Trump, perhaps?) A passable book by Dr Rice but by no means remarkable.

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StarGladiator
May 13, 2017

Who could have ever foreseen someone would write a book like this? [Oh . . . puhleeeeeaaassse . . .]

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rpavlacic
Sep 12, 2017

"Democracy has gained adherents in the context of this global order - though admittedly in fits and starts. Can it continue to do so if America and others withdraw from the responsibilities of the system they created? What will happen to those who still seek liberty in a world told to go its own way? What becomes of those still living in tyranny if we cease to tell others that democracy is a superior form of government and that its tenets are universal? We cannot possibly know the answer to those questions, but we do know that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - populism, nativism, protectionism and isolationism - served neither democracy nor peace the last time around."

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