The Life and Death of Democracy
From Plato to de Tocqueville to Fukuyama—an epic history of the governing philosophy that has defined Western history.
In the grand tradition of Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers comes this provocative history of world democracy, which begins with the ancient Myceans and ends in our fractious present. Overturning long-cherished notions, John Keane poses
As a 'good read', this book deserves two stars at best.
Yet this almost ...more
But ambition and scope prevailed. This book is at least 400 pages too long, spoiled by repetition and indulgent musing by the author. It reads at times like a set of lecture notes, written over many decades and stapled together to produce this tome.
Arguments of this sort are just not good enough, according to Keane, and risk ...more
Most history is taught from a perspective of nation and country. As a consequence much of the history in here was unfamiliar to me. ...more
This book is a marathon, one that I had to take periodic breaks from in order to sustain my interest, but was ultimately worth it.
The book has an important central message: democracy is fragile and is not fated to occur by some underlying evolutionary force as many now believe. As Keane puts it: "That's how it was: no clear-cut laws of motion, no regular patterns, just higgledy-piggledy breakthroughs and ...more
This book is an interesting, illuminating and entertaining look at democracy. It’s also a sizeable read: at just under 1000 pages. John Keane’s purpose in writing this book was to examine and appraise democracy, to look at its origins, its history, its purpose and practice.
John Keane traces the roots of democracy to the Myceneans of the Bronze Age, about a thousand years before it appeared in 5th ...more