How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky

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In this respect, “How Democracies Die” comes at exactly the right moment. We’re already awash in public indignation — what we desperately need is a sober, dispassionate look at the current state of affairs.
-https://www.washingtonpost.com

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Cool and persuasive... How Democracies Die comes at exactly the right moment.”
The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.

Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
 

About Steven Levitsky

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Steven Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. He is the coauthor of Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War, author of Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America, and coeditor of Informal Institutions and Democracy, the last also published by Johns Hopkins. Kenneth M. Roberts is a professor of government at Cornell University, the author of Deepening Democracy?, and the coeditor of Beyond Neoliberalism in Latin America.
 
Published January 16, 2018 by Crown. 322 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for How Democracies Die
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 13 2017

The value of this book is the context it provides, in a style aimed at a concerned citizenry rather than fellow academics, rather than in the consensus it is not likely to build.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by David Runciman on Jan 24 2018

This is a provocative and readable book, but in the end it is also an unsatisfying one. It shares the weakness of too much contemporary political science, by treating history as a useful guide to the future, despite the paucity of the dataset...

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https://www.washingtonpost.com

Good
Reviewed by Christian Caryl on Jan 11 2018

In this respect, “How Democracies Die” comes at exactly the right moment. We’re already awash in public indignation — what we desperately need is a sober, dispassionate look at the current state of affairs.

Read Full Review of How Democracies Die

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Willick on Jan 24 2018

The chief purpose of this book, however, is to alert the public about the unique threat President Trump ostensibly poses to democracy. The authors observe, rightly, that he admires strongmen and often seems to wish that he could act like one.

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