How Democracies Die

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“A brilliant book, wise and nuanced.”
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

“Comprehensive, enlightening, and terrifyingly timely.”
New York Times Book Review


“Cool and persuasive... How Democracies Die comes at exactly the right moment.”
The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.

Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
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About the author

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are Professors of Government at Harvard University. Levitsky’s research focuses on Latin America and the developing world. He is the author of Competitive Authoritarianism and is the recipient of numerous teaching awards. Ziblatt studies Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. He is the author, most recently, of Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy. Both Levitsky and Ziblatt have written for Vox and The New York Times, among other publications.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Broadway Books
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Published on
Jan 16, 2018
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781524762957
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Modern / General
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Government analyses a series of interrelated questions. The first two are diagnostic: how far are there legitimate grounds for concern about public support for democracy world-wide? Are trends towards growing cynicism evident in the United States evident in many established and newer democracies? The second concern is analytical: what are the main political, economic, and cultural factors driving the dynamics of support for democratic government? The final questions are prescriptive: what are the consequences of this analysis and what are the implications for strengthening democratic governance? This book has brought together a distinguished group of international scholars who develop a global analysis of these issues that looks at trends in establishes and newer democracies as we approach the end of the twentieth century. It also presents the first results of the 1995-7 World Values Study as well as drawing on an extensive range of comparative empirical evidence. Challenging the conventional wisdom, this original and stimulating book concludes that accounts of a democratic `crisis' are greatly exaggerated. By the mid-1990s most citizens world-wide shared widespread aspirations to the ideals and principles of democratic government. At the same time there remains a marked gap between evaluations of the ideal and the practice of democracy. The public in many newer democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and in Latin America proved deeply critical of the performance of their governing regimes. And in many established democracies the 1980s saw a decline in public confidence in the core institutions of representative democracy including parliaments, the legal system, and political parties. The book considers the causes and consequences of the development of critical citizens. It will prove invaluable for those interested in comparative politics, public opinion, and the dynamics of the democratization process. ADVANCE PRAISE `The great democratic paradox of the 1990s is that it has simultaneously been the decade of democratization and the decade of growing distrust of democratic institutions. This volume admirably dissects the complex and multi-dimensional background of these conflicting trends, and presents a judicious evaluation of the grounds of optimism and pessimism—in which, fortunately, the former prevails.' AREND LIJPHART, University of California San Diego `Critical Citizens is the most comprehensive collection of comparative work on confidence in government and sources of public support for democracy. I strongly recommend it.' SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET, George mason University `Pippa Norris and her colleagues examine claims and counter-claims about the erosion of public confidence in democracy, describe the depth and dynamics of trust in government, and lay out a broad and differentiated approach to the phenomenon. They sort out the rather high degree of support for democracy from widespread uneasiness with the workings of instituions and with the behaviour of politicians. Their book is must reading for survey researchers and comparative students of democracy alike.' SIDNEY TARROW, Cornell University `This is the most impressive comparative study of how citizens in contemporay democracies relate to their governments. In an age of expanding democratic institutions around the globe, the authors of Critical Citizens capture the reader's interest and provide a masterful update on one of the critical issues of our time.' CHRISTOPHER J. ANDERSON, Binghamton University (SUNY) `It is the Civic Culture study 40 years later . . .Critical Citizens is a landmark comparative study of trends in attitudes toward nation, government regime, political institutions, and leaders, in some forty regionally well-distributed countries, bringing together the resaerch of a cross-national team of social scientists, led by Pippa Norris of the Harvard Kennedy School. It is full of theoretically interesting insights, as well as findings that have an important bearing on public policy.' GABRIEL ALMOND, Stanford
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of On Tyranny comes a stunning new chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.

“A brilliant analysis of our time.”—Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New Yorker

With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy seemed final. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. This faith was misplaced. Authoritarianism returned to Russia, as Putin found fascist ideas that could be used to justify rule by the wealthy. In the 2010s, it has spread from east to west, aided by Russian warfare in Ukraine and cyberwar in Europe and the United States. 

Russia found allies among nationalists, oligarchs, and radicals everywhere, and its drive to dissolve Western institutions, states, and values found resonance within the West itself.  The rise of populism, the British vote against the EU, and the election of Donald Trump were all Russian goals, but their achievement reveals the vulnerability of Western societies.

In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, based on vast research as well as personal reporting, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy and law. To understand the challenge is to see, and perhaps renew, the fundamental political virtues offered by tradition and demanded by the future. By revealing the stark choices before us--between equality or oligarchy, individuality or totality, truth and falsehood--Snyder restores our understanding of the basis of our way of life, offering a way forward in a time of terrible uncertainty.
Germany's and Italy's belated national unifications continue to loom large in contemporary debates. Often regarded as Europe's paradigmatic instances of failed modernization, the two countries form the basis of many of our most prized theories of social science. Structuring the State undertakes one of the first systematic comparisons of the two cases, putting the origins of these nation-states and the nature of European political development in new light.

Daniel Ziblatt begins his analysis with a striking puzzle: Upon national unification, why was Germany formed as a federal nation-state and Italy as a unitary nation-state? He traces the diplomatic maneuverings and high political drama of national unification in nineteenth-century Germany and Italy to refute the widely accepted notion that the two states' structure stemmed exclusively from Machiavellian farsightedness on the part of militarily powerful political leaders. Instead, he demonstrates that Germany's and Italy's "founding fathers" were constrained by two very different pre-unification patterns of institutional development. In Germany, a legacy of well-developed sub-national institutions provided the key building blocks of federalism. In Italy, these institutions' absence doomed federalism. This crucial difference in the organization of local power still shapes debates about federalism in Italy and Germany today. By exposing the source of this enduring contrast, Structuring the State offers a broader theory of federalism's origins that will interest scholars and students of comparative politics, state-building, international relations, and European political history.

Latin America experienced an unprecedented wave of left-leaning governments between 1998 and 2010. This volume examines the causes of this leftward turn and the consequences it carries for the region in the twenty-first century.

The Resurgence of the Latin American Left asks three central questions: Why have left-wing parties and candidates flourished in Latin America? How have these leftist parties governed, particularly in terms of social and economic policy? What effects has the rise of the Left had on democracy and development in the region? The book addresses these questions through two sections. The first looks at several major themes regarding the contemporary Latin American Left, including whether Latin American public opinion actually shifted leftward in the 2000s, why the Left won in some countries but not in others, and how the left turn has affected market economies, social welfare, popular participation in politics, and citizenship rights. The second section examines social and economic policy and regime trajectories in eight cases: those of leftist governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as that of a historically populist party that governed on the right in Peru.

Featuring a new typology of Left parties in Latin America, an original framework for identifying and categorizing variation among these governments, and contributions from prominent and influential scholars of Latin American politics, this historical-institutional approach to understanding the region’s left turn—and variation within it—is the most comprehensive explanation to date on the topic.

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