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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  768 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Democracy opens in 490 B.C., with Athens at war. The hero of the story, Leander, is trying to rouse his comrades for the morrow’s battle against a far mightier enemy, and begins to recount his own life, having borne direct witness to the evils of the old tyrannical regimes and to the emergence of a new political system. The tale that emerges is one of daring, danger, and b ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  768 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
readathon17 Book 2: a comic book based on real events or a true story

To be honest, I thought it was going to be boring. Last time I dealt with ancient Greece, I was in high school. But of course I was wrong. The book talks about the birth of democracy in ancient Athens through the personal story of a fictional young man that lived during that time.
I re-learned many things I had forgotten and it made me question some things I had learned in school and realize how thing really must have been (e.g.
Gabriel Tamaș
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
An amazing effort by the authors. I was pleasently impressed by the way they managed to compile such vast works, spanning from Ancient tragedies and history studies to more modern, scientifical interpretations and specullations. I also found quite pleasing the way they introduced, as they call them themselves, "easter-eggs", which are scattered throughout the story and are only revealed to the unsuspecting reader at the end of the novel, in a vast, well compiled glossary, or comentary. I recomen ...more
Joana Veríssimo
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story, and I was so happy to have read it now, after quite a few classes about Ancient Greek History, because I got the references and I knew the History of what was happening, that made me just so excited!!
And I really liked how the story and Leandro, and how it worked with the history background. Also really liked the Gods' interventions - I just love the idea that the Gods can be everywhere
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Once I sat myself down and forced myself to read more than 2 pages, it wasn't so bad. Still had a devil of a time remembering and distinguish the names though. And NOT a fan of the annoying twit protagonist Marty Stu sort dude. Bleh.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great stuff. I had read their other graphic novel Logicomix about Bertrand Russel, so when I heard this was coming out I was pretty excited. Ancient Greeks!

A few short comments:
Democracy! is much shorter than Logicomix, and in some ways I wished it would've been longer. There are some really neat ways the authors bring the Greek characters to life: Cleisthenes is an worldly aristocratic sophist on par with Plato (or his characters), Isagoras is a sneaky scheming politician ("of reputable family,
Stewart Tame
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is what all graphic novels should aspire to be: solidly entertaining, well crafted, intelligently written ... This is the tale of the invention of democracy, or as near to it as we're likely to get, primary sources being understandably scarce. The story focuses on Leander, a young artist caught up in the events unfolding around him. Although this is, as they say, "based on a true story," (i.e. fictionalized to an unknown degree) it has the weight of history to it. It doesn't feel as if any ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The graphic novel “Democracy” by Alecos Papadatos, Abraham Kawa and Annie Di Donna (swipe to see the cover), tells a violent, romantic historical fiction about a boy called Leander who lives in a time of tyrants and sees his family caught up in the violence of the times. Along the way he meets the Goddess Athena who tells him to keep painting vases (which he loves to do), and Cleisthenes, who gives him a lesson in democratic principles. Of course this graphic novel does not deeply elaborate what ...more
Nishti Baindur
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
'Democracy' is definitely one of the best graphic novels out there. It was fast-paced and the metaphysical element is *chef's kiss*!

It places a fictional 'common man' in the center and explores the birth of democracy in Greece, alluding to real people and places of Greek myth and history. I had forgotten so much of Greek history and still enjoyed it because it's all explained very well at the end of the book, which I deeply appreciate.

Of course, I have to fangirl over the illustration, because
Tanvir Muntasim
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The origin of democracy- not an easy topic to tackle in a graphic novel, but it's done well, with a lot of context, an appealing storyline and with insightful political, economical and social commentary which are still relevant. The only downside is the large cast of characters which can be hard to keep track of, but overall, a much thought provoking read than the usual graphic novel. Another example of using a visual media to explain difficult conceptual issues. ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
Assigned reading for my "Readings in the Graphic Novel" course. This book is based on the historical founding of democracy as we know it back in ancient Greece told from the perspective of a youth who lived at the time.

Leander has aspirations to be a pottery artist, not so much interested in working in the family business. But he holds his father in very high esteem. When the uneasy tensions in Athens boil over into an uprising and assassination of the current ruler (called a tyrant in a way ha
Mark Allard-Will
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story of the birth of Athenian Democracy brought to the Comic Book medium in a feature-length Graphic Novel; the full meat-and-potatoes story of dictators, revolution and an impending, unifying war with the Persians.

Just as dramatic as it sounds, just as encapsulating too; Democracy tells you all you need to know through the Ancient Greek Theatre storytelling device of the speaker and this speaker is our protagonist and fictional character of Leander, reciting the tale of Athens demise and
Daniel Cornwall
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptionally well done and researched story about the birth of democracy in Greece. End of the book has a note on sources followed by commentary on historical characters mentioned in the graphic novel. This would be a decent place to start a high school student or a "history not for me" adult on the birth of Western democracy.

Serious parts are leavened with humorous scenes, some of them featuring the goddess Athena, slayer of giants and unreason.
Vinayak Hegde
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
An ancient Greek story about the birth of democracy and the circumstances that led to it. The narrative (based on true primary sources) is crafted really well with a commoner as a protagonist (Leander) whose life we follow. The characters are brought to life and their triumphs, faults, failures and virtues are laid bare as they grapple with the ideals of the day. A good insightful and well-researched commentary on ancient Greek democracy. The book ends with the battle of Marathon against the Per ...more
Nishit Asnani
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved Logicomix and Democracy didn't disappoint either.

The authors choose to narrate the story from the point of view of a common man during the emergence of a powerful new form of government of the people. The story is set in Athens, half a millennium before Christ, when a democratic government existed only in the minds of a few.

I guess one would find many parallels between the events of the book, the political motivations of the characters and how their personal feuds play into their ambiti
David Wardrop
"If we stand for anything, it's the fact that it doesn't end. It never does. Endings take us back to plots. Back to thinking we're the good ones and all the others are bad. And that kind of thinking always brings out those who act by themselves, for themselves. The great men. The leaders. Those that would be tyrants, and those who would save us from tyrants. Those that take peoples' dreams . . . and make them their own." An incredible Greek fable on the subject of democracy in the form of a grap ...more
Adon Coya
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A much better book than Alecos Papadatos previous (Logicomix). All that it promises, it delivers, with an epic climax on the battle of Marathon, and the start of the subsequent golden age of Athens. I can't recommend it strongly enough! ...more
Diptakirti Chaudhuri
An astonishing concept - the birth of democracy in Greece - is somewhat let down by a fair bit of insignificant events and symbolism. Nevertheless, it is worth a read for the cast of characters who pop up as bit roles but have gone on to become giants in world history.
Shawn Garbett
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Surprising well written. This is a real gem of a graphic novel. Leaves one thinking and reflecting about current events and how much we've changed since ancient Greece. ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Would love to see this as a film, including the outside-of-time appearance of the gods in the third act. Grand and familiar, and thoughtful and inspiring.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paperbacks
"If we stand for anything, it's the fact that it doesn't end. It never does." ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, favourites
Good writing. Nice art. I would like to see more.
Kelly W.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I find my thoughts on this graphic novel somewhat difficult to articulate because the content itself is difficult to describe. There was a lot to like in this book - discussions of politics, portrayals of courage and belief, revelations about how the world works. On top of that, the art made it quite a charming read. My main complaints were concerning characterization, but other than that, I quite liked it overall.

Things I Liked

1. Politics: Setting this story yin 490 BC was a great move - it all
Richard Barnes
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A cool history lesson which brilliantly uses the comic medium to tell its story.

I was expecting something more mired in Greek myth but instead we have a story told in a much straighter style (although Athena, my favourite Greek God, does make welcome appearances).

The story of Greek democracy (or at least Athenian) is told through the eyes of a young man on the eve of a battle against the invading Persians; a battle to preserve that fledgling democracy - and the as the man tells his story, he get
Natalia Nazeem Ahmed
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good. It is the story of the beginning of democracy in ancient Greece. There were a lot of Greek names being thrown around, to say the least. I found some of it a bit dry, but the overall point--democracy is hard--is well taken in this day and age. I think historians will call this time in American history "The Late Republic," since our experiment is currently collapsing in on itself. What will follow? Kings, tyrants, an aristocracy? Or oligarchy? Beats me.

The ancient Greeks were
K De
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Democracy by Papadatos, Kawa, and Di Donna is a interesting peek in at time thousands of years ago when democracy was first born in Athens. The story is told by Leander a gifted artist who is not one of the principal actors in this play but an astute observer of how democracy was the new idea for Athens after a series of tyrants that ruled the Greek city-state. Whilst a goddess does play a minor role in the retelling as well as a slight love interest who is part of the Delphic temple initiates. ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book to view, read and think. Democracy goes hand in hand with the ancient sources and recreates an obscure period in the history of Athens, the twenty years of uncertainty between the reforms of Cleisthenes and the Battle of Marathon. The way it tells its story, through the personal memories of the young Athenian Leander, is unique, touching and engaging and the reader immediately feels a strong connection to the main hero. As the story develops, the reader gets a glimpse of Archaic Ath ...more
John Lockenvitz
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
My knowledge of ancient history is very limited, as I never studied the western classics. This graphic novel is a compelling story of how and when democracy developed with a few recognizable events bce. The authors are the same that wrote Logicomix. Papadatos is not the first to create great historical fiction in this format, but he definitely is my favorite. I hope he continues to write histories with his team.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Challenging—I believe this is a translation from the Greek; nonetheless, the storytelling is complex, layered and historical fiction. I appreciated the graphic novel format to better illustrate the setting through clothing, architecture, and art of the time period. Not sure who I would recommend this to—the beginning scholar, the historical fiction enthusiast, the Greek culture fan, the graphic novel lover—but it covers a lot of bases and ticks a lot of boxes I don’t regularly get to.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very interesting depiction of the events that led to the birth of democracy. There are so many hidden hints throughout the story, only explained at the appendix of the book, which makes me want to read the book again to fully appreciate it.

Nevertheless, after a first reading, it gives the impression that it is progressing very fast and in a rush, expecting more to be known at the end.
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