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The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
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The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  441 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Natan Sharansky believes that the truest expression of democracy is the ability to stand in the middle of a town square and express one's views without fear of imprisonment. He should know. A dissident in the USSR, Sharansky was jailed for nine years for challenging Soviet policies. During that time he reinforced his moral conviction that democracy is essential to both pro ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by PublicAffairs (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 878)
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Jeff
Jul 30, 2007 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Policy Wonks
Pros
1. Sharansky is an engaging writer. He has a considerable amount of passion for the subject, which helps carry the book along (and which is also one of the cons).
2. Sharansky does a good job of providing a history of one aspect of the Cold War, the dissident movement in the East Bloc and its importance in the final denouement of that conflict.
3. Sharansky provides an in-depth narrative of Israeli/Palestinian politics during the 1990s.
4. Sharansky's basic points - that democratic societies a
...more
Kathy
Jun 04, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Sharansky is a former Soviet Jewish dissident and political prisoner who has championed the cause of democracy and freedom. In this book, he makes a strong case for the power of free, democratic countries to encourage freedom and democracy throughout the world. He argues that democratic countries throughout the world are much safer for America than are any kind of dictatorships. He even argues that America can play a strong role in bringing democracy to the non-democratic middle east. He sho ...more
Juka Pakatsoshvili
i was rather disappointed. it seemed reasonably interesting and informational book. but actually there are no facts, just Natan Sharansky's point of view about them. one should admit that he has read Hobbes's book (fear society and the very last sentence of the book) and that is really very nice but it's Hobbes's idea and not his own anyway. and the thing that concerned me was the answer to the question whether freedom / democracy is for everyone and he argus that it is. and the example he gives ...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Feb 06, 2015 Trudy Pomerantz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Sharansky's analysis of tyranny - and the problem of the US and other free countries making deals with tyrannical governments or individual tyrants was very persuasive. It was in keeping with my belief that the US fails to understand that our enemy's enemy is not necessarily our friend. He makes an excellent point that any government (or individual) who would mistreat its own citizens is not going to make a good ally. I also found very believable Sharansky's argument that tyrannical government o ...more
Don Weidinger
May 08, 2014 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
statements for electorate vs truth, free society can lose moral courage, fear societies and free societies, détente is French word meaning relaxation, confront not appease, no respect for human rights is no respect for neighbor, promote true human rights promotes freedom, freedom is transformational, Islam is no difference between church and state vs Christianity render to Caesar, 22 middle east countries not free far east like India are free, the butcher is dead, world of double think as part o ...more
Zvi Jonathan
Jan 22, 2014 Zvi Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Natan Sharansky knows more about resisting tyranny than most, having been incarcerated in a prison of one of history's greatest tyrannies-the Soviet Union, as he illustrated in his incredible memoirs Fear No Evil: The Classic Memoir of One Man's Triumph over a Police State

In this book he puts under the microscope the totalitarian states of the world, dissecting the inner workings of fear societies.

Sharansky contrasts fear societies with free societies. The profound moral difference between a fre
...more
Gyoza
May 28, 2015 Gyoza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
Natan Sharansky, an erstwhile political prisoner in the Soviet Union, writes about how to accurately tell a free society from a "fear" society (one in which people do not enjoy basic liberties and are kept in check by their leaders through fear of punishment). He makes a good case for why it is in the interest of free societies to conduct their foreign policy in such a way as to link benefits granted to fear societies with requirements that the fear society reform its domestic practices.

Fear so
...more
Jerry
Jul 21, 2015 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Subtitled The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror, Sharansky believes that offering the same respect to dissidents and reformers in the Middle East that we offered to dissidents and reformers in the Soviet Union, that is, linking freedom of speech and other freedoms to any aid or other deals, will lead to functioning democracies.

Many people remain convinced that freedom is not for everyone, that its expansion is not always desirable, and that there is little that the free world can
...more
John
I read this book a second time in 2006. Overall it's a wrongheaded book. The author writes with ostensible concern for Palestinians but devotes pretty much nothing to Israeli causes of their predicament, thereby unfairly attributing Palestinian problems primarily if not solely to Palestinians. This analysis is one-sided, to put it mildly, if not outright dishonest and Machiavellian. Despite all this plus his sycophantic, psychologically adept appeals to the hubris of his American readership, the ...more
Joel Justiss
Sharansky, a Soviet political prisoner become Israeli government minister, tells how the desire of the Soviet peoples for freedom led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. He argues that everyone wants freedom, and that given an adequate opportunity, the people of any nation will choose democracy over tyranny. He states his belief that democratic governments are much better world citizens than dictatorships, and much less likely to wage wars. He applies this theory to the Arab/Israeli conflict, u ...more
Charis
May 14, 2013 Charis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book President George W. Bush stated inspired him during his presidency, the toughest question is asked in foreign policy - does Democracy fix terrorism? Notedly, this commentary is written by a former Soviet Jewish dissident who was imprisoned by the Soviet Union for his politics and later served as an Israeli government minister. He addresses nearly every aspect in modern history in which dictatorships ruled and how democracy effected or currently effects those nations who suppress their own ...more
Abdulrahman
Dec 14, 2015 Abdulrahman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While I agree with the basic idea of the book, the writer shows lots of hypocrisy when trying to bend his principles to defend Israel. He also stated clear lies as facts of history (when talking about the peace treaty between prophet Mohammad and his enemies in the city of Mekka).
Kim
Nov 19, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is a Soviet Jew who spent 12 years in prison for trumped up charges of spying. He emigrated to Isreal after his release and spent some time working to integrate other immigrants into life in Isreal. Eventually he became involved in politics and makes a very compelling case for dividing governments into either democracies or terror states. He makes the case that the suggestion that 'Arabs' do not want 'freedom' or can't live in a democracy is shortsighted and gives as examples the foun ...more
Craig Fiebig
Feb 17, 2016 Craig Fiebig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly important book discussing the futility of pursuing peace with regimes that lead their people through fear. The goal should never be a peace 'deal' with Russia, Iran or any tyrant. Such a 'peace' will only be transitory and illusory.
Lucas Johnson
Glorious in its defense of the moral principles that bind together the fate of free nations. Sharansky's prose is crystal clear and he speaks with the eloquence that only a man who has found the truth can muster. Witnessing, I believe it is called, and rightly so.
Louis
Jan 10, 2009 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Natan Sharansky was a Jewish political dissident under the tyranny of Soviet rule before the fall of the USSR, and a man that Ronald Reagan made a personal crusade of freeing from bondage. Held for almost a decade in the KGB prison Lefortovo, he explains the hope that Reagan brought to those prisoners with his "Evil Empire" speech and how he knew then that it was the beginning of the end. Sharansky does a brilliant job of helping the reader to understand why we must support the cause of freedom ...more
Mike
Jun 07, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent. Sharansky's ideas on moral clarity, the differences between fear and free societies, the inherently belligerent nature of dictatorships and the role of democracy in forming politically reliable states I believe is right on. A must read for any one that is interested in modern politics and nation development. He could have gone beyond the Isreal-Palestine conflict to include other examples of unstable fear societies (there are many) but his reliance on this example is und ...more
Dilorom
Very well thought book. Although I don't agree with author's efforts to defend the State of Israel, I thought he lays out very good definition of human rights and democracy. I also wondered why he never touched upon a question of weather it was ok to pursue someone's rights on the burden of someone else's human rights in the example of the State of Israel and Palestine. Not mentioning human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers and citizens seemed biased. Overall, I don't regret readin ...more
Maren
Jan 21, 2009 Maren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know who Natan Sharansky is please read Fear No Evil. He knows whereof he speaks when it comes to the importance of freedom in the world today. He makes a compelling argument on the importance of a freedom society verses a fear society. Mr. Sharansky has been a KGB prisoner and a human rights leader and currently lives with his family in Israel. He believes that individuals should be able to freely speak their views in public without fear of punishment.
Jason
Aug 29, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


An outstanding and powerful book that makes a strong case for democracy, and the dangers of pandering to undemocratic institutions. Very few people could credibly write a book like this one, but Sharansky is one of these few. Yes, he may be too idealistic, but if you looks at world events, we would be better off following his guidance.
Will James
Aug 09, 2011 Will James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An uncompromising book that fiercely champions the moral and practical imperatives in the expansion of democracy across the world. Sharansky passionately argues his cause, and 'The Case for Democracy' is a powerful product of a lifetime battling against totalitarianism and dictatorship. A fine book.
Joe
Oct 10, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good treatment of how free societies, in the course of advocating for the widening of the scope of freedom, can turn authoritarian regimes tail and run, falling in on themselves. An inspiring advocate of the positive results that occur when civil society calmly asserts and defends itself.
Matthew Trevithick
This book definitely has a powerful (and reassuring) central idea: namely, that democracy is a force for good in the world and worth spreading. Unfortunately, the examples Sharansky uses (Germany and Japan) make for absolutely poor comparisons to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elyse
Read this book if you're interested in arguments that some societies are just not capable of sustaining democracy. Sharansky, a victim of Stalin's Gulag who went on to become a leading politician in Israel, makes a solid case that democracy suits all people.
Aaron Schulze
Mar 17, 2008 Aaron Schulze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet political prisoner and Israeli member of parliament brings a unique and refreshing perspective to geopolitics. This is a must read if you are confused about how to solve the seemingly intractable problems of the Middle East.
Meen
Sep 13, 2008 Meen marked it as probably-never-gonna-read-it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meen by: It was on the $1 shelf at Page & Palette
So, I bought this for $1 'cause hey, I like democracy, but I'm starting to think now that he's making an argument to legitimize US military intervention to impose democracy on countries (e.g., Iraq), so I'm probably not gonna read it. Oh well, it was only $1.
Tom
May 07, 2011 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I couldn't finish this book (I read more than half). While I agree totally with the author's point(s) I just got tired of reading his self-adulation (if that's even a word).
Eliza
Jul 11, 2010 Eliza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discusses beautifully how powerful the vocal, moral support of the American president can be for those fighting for freedom abroad.
Jarred
Jan 12, 2009 Jarred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with a great argument born from a personal story of survival of tyranny. Should be required reading to all Americans.
Debby
Nov 25, 2012 Debby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very pertinent to today's world with events in Israel and Gaza. He makes a great argument for democracy in the middle east.
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Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky (later Natan Sharanky) was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on January 20, 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against adults. At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native Done ...more
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