M. Milner's Reviews > Democracy in America

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
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Jan 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: good-history-stuff, longreads

There's a lot here to chew on. Democracy in America took me the better part of 2012 to read and that's not just because I was pacing myself: it's a dense volume, with a lot of information and analysis. Tocqueville moves from everything from what could cause a civil war in the US (he wasn't far off on that one) to a future when the US and Russia are the dominant powers in the world (remarkably insightful for someone living in the early 19th century) to the tyranny of the majority (I'm still not sold on that one). I'm not sure it's as indispensable as is sometimes claimed, but I feel like I have a much better grasp on the political theories around the way the US was constructed.

But like I said: this is a long read. He covers a lot of territory and a lot of theorizing. There's some end notes, but I kept wishing there were more of them (and weren't as obvious as explaining who people like Napoleon were) to help make some of his insights a little easier to digest. And for what it's worth, the two essays included at the end of this book are enjoyable reading, too: they're both accounts of Tocqueville's travels along the Canadian/US border, plunging deep into the woods. Recommended for political buffs, but it might be overwhelming for casual readers.
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Reading Progress

January 18, 2011 – Shelved
September 3, 2012 – Started Reading
September 3, 2012 –
page 30
3.02%
September 3, 2012 –
page 30
3.02%
September 5, 2012 –
page 89
8.97%
September 9, 2012 –
page 147
14.82%
September 15, 2012 –
page 184
18.55%
September 15, 2012 –
page 184
18.55%
September 22, 2012 –
page 276
27.82%
September 28, 2012 –
page 339
34.17%
October 7, 2012 –
page 394
39.72%
October 12, 2012 –
page 454
45.77%
October 14, 2012 –
page 512
51.61%
October 23, 2012 –
page 556
56.05%
October 27, 2012 –
page 600
60.48%
October 27, 2012 –
page 600
60.48%
November 3, 2012 –
page 674
67.94%
November 7, 2012 –
page 710
71.57%
December 16, 2012 –
page 756
76.21%
December 27, 2012 –
page 800
80.65%
December 30, 2012 –
page 854
86.09%
December 31, 2012 –
page 927
93.45%
December 31, 2012 –
page 927
93.45% "Finished the book itself, now onto it's bonus content: two essays on America by Tocqueville"
December 31, 2012 –
page 927
93.45% "Finished the book itself, now onto it's bonus content: two essays on America by Tocqueville"
January 1, 2013 – Finished Reading

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