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Crises of Democracy*

Thought-Provoking Book about the Past, Present, and Future of Democracy

If you are concerned about the state of democracy, both in the United States and in the mature democracies of this world, you will not find quick answers and immediate solutions in this book. Indeed, the title of the book shows its focus, that is, crises and disasters. This book looks at the past and current crises of democratic states to give us context for what is happening around us and give us a snapshot of the modern state of democracy. He does go into some detail describing both crises and democracy in the introduction before delving into democracy’s somewhat perilous and full-of-strife past. I found his discussion of the vulnerabilities of democracy and the two conditions that most threaten it, unbridled and inherently unequal capitalism coupled with theoretical political equality and the quest for political power, particularly enlightening and much food for thought. He then goes on to talk about current events in modern democracies that could be considered crises. Given the troubled history of democracy, it is easy to follow the thread that shows us how we got to where we are. What is less clear is how we move on in the future, though the author does give some thoughts on the future of democracy. In the Trump and Brexit era, many books are taking a deeper look into these events and what may have brought us to this place, but I appreciated the author’s willingness to simply present facts (and opinions) and ask insightful questions. The book is certainly thought-provoking, and I think it is an important book for those of us who care about democracy and our future to read.