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Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

by Condoleezza Rice

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


From the former secretary of state and bestselling author — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

"This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their<//b><//b><//i>

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


From the former secretary of state and bestselling author — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

"This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work...Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed." —The New York Times

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 served on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.

In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy's challenges into perspective.

When the United States was founded, it was the only attempt at self-government in the world. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Using America's long struggle as a template, Rice draws lessons for democracy around the world — from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, to Kenya, Colombia, and the Middle East. She finds that no transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backward. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right. But, Rice argues, that does not mean they should not try. While the ideal conditions for democracy are well known in academia, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones.

These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by governments today. The pursuit of democracy is a continuing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing authoritarian regimes, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming mature democracies to better live up to their ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.

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Editorial Reviews
The New York Times Book Review - Walter Russell Mead
Democracy is Rice's attempt to hammer home the idea of democracy promotion as a key goal for American foreign policy. This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work, but also indicates why so many others are skeptical. Rice is above all an honest and sincere writer; she does not gild the lilies or tweak her data. She is candid about times that democracy promotion has led to costly mistakes…Yet for Rice, the point of these failures is that democracy promotion is "hard—really, really hard," not that it is unimportant or impossible. It remains, she insists, both an inescapable moral responsibility for the United States and the only policy that, long-term, has the potential to safeguard American security…Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.
Publishers Weekly
03/27/2017
Between her academic background in political science and her experience as national security advisor and secretary of state for George W. Bush, Rice could be expected to provide unique insights into the challenges currently facing democracy worldwide. Instead, she blandly avers that “the overall trajectory is worth celebrating,” despite her own description of Russia as a “failed democratic experiment.” Rice also opines that “dashed expectations that democracy’s march would be linear” account, at least in part, for fears that democratic governments are actively on the decline. Beyond such unilluminating statements, Rice traces the history of democracy across the modern world, relating familiar facts about the U.S., Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She also cannot resist blaming the Obama administration for depriving Iraq of a better future by deciding to pull American troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011, pursuant to an agreement with the Iraqi government that she had been party to. Rice’s post-Trump election epilogue is equally unsatisfying—she states that it is “stunning” that mature democracies like the U.S. have been affected by the global rise in populism, nativism, and isolationism, but concludes that it is too early to know whether the international order in place since the end of WWII will survive. (May)
Library Journal
05/01/2017
How does a country become a democracy? Former secretary of state Rice offers readers the opportunity to consider this question while examining places throughout the world where governments are transitioning toward or struggling to maintain free and fair elections that result in democratic rule. After a brief look at the nearly 150-year evolution to full U.S. democracy, Rice focuses on five nations' experiences: Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Kenya, and Colombia. She also examines current conflicts and obstacles that Middle Eastern countries are struggling to overcome. Her familiarity with many countries' leaders, as well as her personal involvement helping nations attain more representative or responsive government systems, give readers a behind-the-scenes look. Rice includes an epilog addressing events since the election of President Donald Trump and reminds readers that democracies are built for disruptions within their institutions. She also cautions that while democracy's genius is in its openness to change, its stability is in its institutions that encourage restraint and reject authoritarian power. VERDICT Rice presents an authoritative explanation of the challenges leaders face as they attempt to establish democratic governments. Readers interested in the history of political systems and governments will find her work informative and easy to understand. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/16.]—Jill Ortner, SUNY Buffalo Libs.
From the Publisher
"This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work...Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed."—Walter Russell Mead, The New York Times

"Condoleezza Rice serves as an able and insightful guide in this journey through democracy across the globe. Her knowledge and clear-eyed assessment of the challenges facing this system of government make this book an important contribution to a pressing debate on democracy today."— Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations

"[An] accessibly written study of that imperfect but ideal form of government...[One that] deserves a broad audience, especially in our current political climate."—Kirkus Starred Review

"At a time when democracy appears to be in retreat around the globe, Condoleezza Rice's DEMOCRACY: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom offers a much-needed corrective. Weaving effortlessly between academic analysis and personal experiences-from Professor Rice to Secretary of State Rice and back again-Condi draws upon a series of case studies to offer a fresh perspective to how democracies emerge, how they sometimes endure but sometimes collapse, and especially why patience is required from us in observing and participating in the democracy-building process. A fantastic read!"— Professor Michael McFaul, director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

"[A] ringing call for democracy promotion...Ms. Rice should be commended."—Max Boot, The Wall Street Journal

"Working daily alongside Condi at the White House and State Department, I witnessed firsthand her foundational belief in the power of human freedom and the crucial need for democratic institutions to protect it. This book, full of fascinating anecdotes and insights, is a sweeping view of the global struggle for democracy and a must-read for all who care about the future peace of the world and its people."— Karen Hughes, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs

"Authoritative...Readers interested in the history of political systems and governments will find her work informative and easy to understand."—Library Journal

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Product Details
ISBN-13:
9781455540181
9781455540181
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
05/09/2017
Pages:
496
496
Sales rank:
9,634
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.70(d)
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Meet the author

Condoleezza Rice is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and a professor of political science at Stanford University. Rice was the second woman and first African American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State and the first woman to serve as national security adviser.

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Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom
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Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom
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