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Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  813 ratings  ·  123 reviews
From the former Secretary of State and bestselling author - a sweeping, definitive look at the birth, life and struggle of global democracy. From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has been on the front lines of history. She was a child when her hometown of Birmingham, ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Twelve (first published 2017)
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May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is Condoleezza Rice’s attempt to inform the reader about the idea of democracy promotion as a key goal for United States foreign policy. Rice states that the United States engaged in a policy of global engagement and the global extension of democracy. She states Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama worked within this overall framework. She has concerns about President Trump’s America First policy. Rice was the first black female Secretary of State and the second female Secretary of ...more
Jim Keough
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most informative and interesting books I have ever read. It is like taking a class from a top level professor. This woman should be President.
Let me try to sum it up this way: Written by a brilliant scholar, extremely informative, historically accurate and dry as dust in many spots. Rice focuses on the challenges for democracies - especially younger ones. There were some brilliant parts which are apropos for today - where she discusses populist governments - what demographics vote for them and why as well as the dangers found within.

She was spot on about the election of Trump and why - although she has been very circumspect - "once
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book speaks to America's "mission" to promote and foster democracies globally before, during and after her tenure as National Security Adviser and as Secretary of State. She addresses that America has not always been perfect in offering freedom for all even within our own borders. And she also addresses mistakes made in working with other countries as we promote democracy while acknowledging that all democracies, including our own, have flaws and will never become the "perfect union", but ...more
Anita Pomerantz
This book strikes you as one that you might read in a history class on the evolution of democracy. Meaning it is a tad dry. On the flip side, it is a wonderful synopsis of how democracy emerges in the real world. Hint: It's pretty messy. It also illustrates how the U.S. has helped paved the way and how well the efforts to support democracy has worked. Ms. Rice goes country by country, including Iraq, Russia, Poland, and Columbia, and it's fascinating to read about the different challenges each ...more
Shana Yates
A very thoughtful book from former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Rice uses her own personal experiences in a number of countries (including the United States) to discuss the factors at play in successful democracies and highlighting the difficulty of creating and maintaining democracies. From her childhood in the Jim Crow south all the way to the populist world elections of 2016, she explores the dangers to democracy and the tenant that it is something that should be encouraged and ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hearing the author discuss the book in an interview made me want to read her work. Her understanding of the world is based on her experiences in a number of roles and spans decades. Although she's a professor, this book surely doesn't read like a text but it is just loaded with details and concepts that left me absolutely in awe. She knew and knows personally so many world leaders and and understands their personal idiosyncrasies as well as those of the countries they represented. Her authority ...more
Mike Bushman
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Democracies, and the liberties they protect, are extremely fragile. Condoleezza Rice surveys the struggles of nations and regions to turn to democracy and provide the liberties that make democracies sustainable through turbulent times. While not explicitly focused on the United States, its lessons for maintaining our democracy are as timely as ever and easy to glean from her writing. The United States has passed the midpoint longevity for empires and world superpowers. One of many critical ...more
Mary Beth
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Democracy is imperfect at the beginning and will remain so. But men and women still crave it. It alone affords human beings the dignity that comes when those who would govern them have to ask for their consent."
Rod Innis
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really did like this book! Because I have a daughter who lives in Kenya, I loved that chapter. Because I live in Ecuador just south of Colombia for over a decade, I loved that chapter. Because I have been studying about the Middle East most of my life, I loved that chapter. The author is a very articulate, intelligent person and explains sometimes complicated issues that often helps sort out the relevant facts.
This book is well worth reading if you want to better understand the world in which
David Steele
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, freedom
The Puritan, John Winthrop spoke of America as “the city on a hill” as he gazed upon the shores of his new home from the confines of his ship, theArbella. President Ronald Reagan inspired freedom lovers around the world as he too spoke in glowing terms of this “city on a hill.” Winthrop and Reagan captured the very heartbeat of every human being with that phrase as they echoed the cry for freedom - a freedom which is made possible by democracy.

Former Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleeza Rice
Debbie Morrison
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom is enlightening; it provides a window into the complexity of countries making their way towards democratic governance with Rice sharing her experiences as Secretary of State under George W. Bush’s presidency. Those of us living in full democracies may take it for granted, apparent after reading of the struggles countries and their people experience when transitioning to democratic governance. There are a multitude of factors that affect the ...more
Roxanne Russell
The book gave me the abridged education on contemporary political history that I've been looking for. This education itself makes the book worth reading, but my guilty pleasure was glimpsing Rice's personality- she's more than a little snarky. Rice, both an academic and a practitioner at the highest levels, explains democracy, not as an abstract social construct but as a complex, logistical endeavor. Her orderly approach to exposition works well- she applies a consistent analytical framework ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I give up. I can only find this audio version on Goodreads. I bought the book, and really found it interesting. Dr. Rice's background goes to show why experts are important in this world. No one person can know everything about everything, and Dr. Rice knows a s***load about democracy and diplomacy. I am glad she was once our Secretary of State. She's not a swamp dweller, but a truly qualified expert.

No matter your political affiliation, I highly recommend reading this book.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good discussion of how democracies may come about and the conditions that help or hinder the transition from an authoritarian state to a democratic state. The value of other institutions is apparent - besides a free press, institutions like labor unions, universities, churches... democracy is enabled by the existence of strong institutions (and destroying or constraining those institutions is something that authoritarian governments do to preserve their status quo).
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who didn't pay attention in history class but love knowing what's going on in the world.
I don't normally read political books, but I saw it on CNN and have always respected Condoleeza Rice.

I found this book very compelling and easy to read. Some parts might be more a review for those who already know all this history or have been paying attention to foreign affairs. I found the anecdotes very interesting, though.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Stories from the Long Road to Freedom" is a good title for this book. "Democracy" not so much; more accurately it should be "Struggles toward Democracy."

The stories are taken from Condi Rice's own experiences, from her childhood in Alabama to her college years focusing on Russia and politics, and as a member of conservative government in the USA. She has had a front row seat to a lot of the late 20th-century politics and upheavals and struggles toward freedom, liberty, democratic government,
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom" was the foreign policy book I hoped for... despite my usually-good coworker's recommendation, I expected to argue with it a lot more than I did. Thoughtful, exceedingly informative in its coverage of countries whose democratic process I knew little about, still insightful in cases where I did know or remember the relevant history. While there were places where I disagreed with Rice's analysis, she also has way more information about many of ...more

This is a book I would buy to give to others to read. Condoleezza Rice did a great job of walking us through the political histories of all the countries that have fought for democracy over the last 100 years or so. It was educational and helped me understand more about why we may or may not support certain leaders, provide funding, etc. I will definitely read some of her books now.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an in-depth and well researched look at the growth and decay of democracy across the world through the eyes of someone who is intimately aware of the details. From growing up in the deep South as a black girl during the Civil Rights Movement to studying in Russia and the Eastern Bloc during the waning years of the Cold War to serving as first National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State during the tumultuous times following 9/11, Condoleezza Rice shares insights and gripping ...more
Mark Mears
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Condolezza Rice provides an analysis of the modern struggle for Democracy with great depth and compassion. Definitely worth the time.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
I expected to enjoy this book more than I did after listening to her excellent memoir, but it was still very good. Weaving together fairly straighforward histories of the development of democracy during her years of involvement with her personal experience, she highlights themes of the need for strong institutions and a well-developed civil society.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-read
I won this book through Goodreads. Really enjoyed. So interesting and informative. Loved it.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads’ First Reads program. This book was a very readable discussion of democracy’s successes, challenges, and failures throughout different eras, regions and countries. This isn’t an in-depth examination of any one particular country, but a good overview of democracy and the world political stage as a whole, and may serve as a catalyst for inquiring minds to read more on specific countries and moments in history. I wasn’t certain how I the book would ...more
Overall this was an enjoyable book and I would recommend it to anyone who would like a broad look into the opinions of an important diplomat and political figure. It cannot be argued that Condoleezza Rice is of the utmost intelligence and played an important role in historical events of the first part of the 21st century. Given her intelligence and background, growing up in segregated Birmingham at the height of the Jim Crow era, she understands both the limits and promises of democracy.

In this
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Even as the Constitution has been used to overcome the legacy of inequality, the arguments have gotten louder and more complicated about its proper purposes, none more so than those about affirmative action. It is a prime example of how the country has tried to balance competing principles in the pursuit of racial equality.

"The idea was rather simple at its inception. Years of legal segregation and societal prejudice had led to an imbalace in the opportunities available to American minorities.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Condoleezza Rice provides a clear-eyed and thoughtful look at the spread of democracy around the world. She also covers the limits and shortfalls of our country's attempt at democracy. I especially enjoyed her sharing her front row seat to the fall of the Soviet Union (she was a Soviet expert for Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush). Her personal experiences in the Middle East during her tenure as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State were very fascinating if somewhat more painful given ...more
Carmel Chapline
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grounded in a sweeping historical perspective, and illuminated by years of study, experience, and participation in international affairs, Secretary Rice makes the argument for understanding democratic government as that which all peoples of all nations seek, but not all are prepared to step forward into when the window opens. Every road is different, but there are some factors that can make the journey easier, harder, or darned near impossible. Still, the journey doesn't end, only detours. Other ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book compliments of Twelve through the Goodreads First Reads program.

Condoleeza Rice gives us her thoughts on what it takes to create a democracy and sustain it. There are aspects she believes are necessary and the formation of the United States government is used as an illustration of forming a workable democracy. Each country forming a new government begins from a unique starting point, but can be placed into broad categories. The collapse of a totalitarian regime is a much
Eddie Amador
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Current and well structured. A must read for anyone with an interest in democracy promotion, foreign policy, or international relations. I highly recommend.
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Play Book Tag: Democracy by Condoleezza Rice - 3 stars 5 23 Oct 04, 2017 04:09PM  

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Condoleezza Rice is the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice is the first black woman, second African American (after her predecessor Colin Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright, who served from 1997 to 2001 in the Clinton Administration) to serve as Secretary ...more
“if the nation were to be stable, individual rights had to be exercised according to rules that all people could understand and trust.” 0 likes
“the Founders were concerned that the will of the people could easily become the preferences of the mob.” 0 likes
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