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Adventures in Democracy

The Turbulent World of People Power

«A sparkling account of people power through the ages, and how to save it from itself . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition . . . a timely reminder that we can all play our part»

Katja Hoyer, Guardian

'Sparkling . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition' Guardian

'Enjoyable vitality' The Times

'Highly stimulating . . . wonderfully readable . . . her analysis of democracy's key strengths and weaknesses is forensic' Literary Review

Democracy is a living, breathing thing and Erica Benner has spent a lifetime thinking about the role ordinary citizens play in keeping it alive: from her childhood in post-war Japan, where democracy was imposed on a defeated country, to working in post-communist Poland, with its sudden gaps of wealth and security. This book draws on her experiences and the deep history of self-ruling peoples – going back to ancient Greece, the French revolution and Renaissance Florence – to rethink some of the toughest questions that we face today.

What do democratic ideals of equality mean in a world obsessed with competition, wealth, and greatness? How can we hold the powerful to account? Can we find enough common ground to keep sharing democratic power in the future? Challenging well-worn myths of heroic triumph over tyranny, Benner reveals the inescapable vulnerabilities of people power, inviting us to consider why democracy is worth fighting for and the role each of us must play.

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'Sparkling . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition' Guardian

'Enjoyable vitality' The Times

'Highly stimulating . . . wonderfully readable . . . her analysis of democracy's key strengths and weaknesses is forensic' Literary Review

Democracy is a living, breathing thing and Erica Benner has spent a lifetime thinking about the role ordinary citizens play in keeping it alive: from her childhood in post-war Japan, where democracy was imposed on a defeated country, to working in post-communist Poland, with its sudden gaps of wealth and security. This book draws on her experiences and the deep history of self-ruling peoples – going back to ancient Greece, the French revolution and Renaissance Florence – to rethink some of the toughest questions that we face today.

What do democratic ideals of equality mean in a world obsessed with competition, wealth, and greatness? How can we hold the powerful to account? Can we find enough common ground to keep sharing democratic power in the future? Challenging well-worn myths of heroic triumph over tyranny, Benner reveals the inescapable vulnerabilities of people power, inviting us to consider why democracy is worth fighting for and the role each of us must play.

Detaljer

Forlag
Allen Lane
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
Sider
224
ISBN
9780241609750
Utgivelsesår
2024
Format
24 x 16 cm

Om forfatteren

Erica Benner is a political philosopher who has taught at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Yale. She is the author of Be Like the Fox, which was selected as one of the Guardian's Best Books of 2017 and shortlisted for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. Erica was born in Japan and currently lives in Berlin.

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«A sparkling account of people power through the ages, and how to save it from itself . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition . . . a timely reminder that we can all play our part»

Katja Hoyer, Guardian

«Shows how ancient wisdom might save democracies from anarchy and ruin . . . That she has lived and taught the ideas she writes about gives the book an enjoyable vitality»

Emma Duncan, The Times

«Highly stimulating . . . wonderfully readable . . . wherever she darts in history, Benner is a terrific guide, always questioning, always teasing out parallels . . . she brings clarity and curiosity to each issue . . . and a deep understanding of the past . . . her analysis of democracy's key strengths and weaknesses is forensic»

Sarah Dunant, Literary Review

«A lively, accessible account of democracy, its strengths and weaknesses over the past 2,500 years . . . it comes with a plea to throw out the self-satisfied view that western democracy is a kind of political perfection, and to bring more honesty to our conversations about the ideal versus the reality of modern democracy»

Michael Foley, The Irish Times

«An invigorating reflection on the tensions in liberal democracy. Benner weaves together personal reflections on life in Japan and Eastern Europe with a nuanced account of ancient philosophies that are all too often caricatured. Essential reading for anyone tempted to be complacent about the survival of democracy in the twenty-first century»

Catherine Fletcher, author of The Beauty and the Terror

«Engaging, illuminating, and arrives at an opportune moment. . . An overriding concern is that though democratic norms encourage us to love equality, we tend to want more of it for ourselves than for the rest»

Sanjay Sipahimalani, The Federal

«Erica Ben­ner lends a personal, familiar touch to a difficult, layered subject. The tone of the narrative and how the chapters unfold are riveting — it is almost as if Benner is sitting down to have a meal with you and engaging in a frank, informal discussion about…democracy, its “be­ginnings and myths”, the “constant struggles” it has faced over the years and the “mortal dangers” it suffers today»

Telegraph India

«Political philosopher Erica Benner offers an original, highly humanistic analysis focusing on how individuals have interacted organically with democracy…Benner forensically dissects the strengths and failings of democracy... She offers — in a beautifully written account — instructive lessons about the compromises and contradictions that democratic systems have had to grapple with and the questions that informed citizens must ask themselves when considering their political futures»

John Nilsson-Wright, Global Asia

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