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

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  316 ratings  ·  34 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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Jeff
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
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
Zvi Jonathan
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
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
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
Kim
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
Louis
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
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
Maren
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


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
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
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.
Matt
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
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
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
Discusses beautifully how powerful the vocal, moral support of the American president can be for those fighting for freedom abroad.
Jarred
Great book with a great argument born from a personal story of survival of tyranny. Should be required reading to all Americans.
Debby
Very pertinent to today's world with events in Israel and Gaza. He makes a great argument for democracy in the middle east.
K
What free speech would get you under Communism. Not a Left Vs Right but a Right Vs Wrong book.
Varmint
wonderful book, but based on the assumption that all people want democracy and human rights.
Tess
Apr 28, 2008 Tess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Tess by: me
This book is a powerful tribute to democracy and the human will to be free.
Sean Rife
Good, but a bit overly simplistic and somewhat intellectually lacking.
Bltucker48
This book is sooooo good that I want to read it a second time.
Kristen
This is my favorite political book.
Annelise
I confess I liked this book.
Bryan
Mar 27, 2010 Bryan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
GWB fav book
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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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