Classic analysis of America's unique political character, quoted heavily by politicians and perennially popping up on history professors' reading lists. The book's enduring appeal lies in the eloquent, prophetic voice of Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), a French aristocrat who visited the United States in 1831. A thoughtful young man in a still ...Read MoreClassic analysis of America's unique political character, quoted heavily by politicians and perennially popping up on history professors' reading lists. The book's enduring appeal lies in the eloquent, prophetic voice of Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), a French aristocrat who visited the United States in 1831. A thoughtful young man in a still-young country, he succeede in penning this penetrating study of America's people, culture, history, geography, politics, legal system, and economy. Tocqueville asserts, I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress.Read Less
This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the mentality of liberty that exists in America. Tocqueville does an excellent job of illustrating the good and bad of "democracy in America." Essential for any amateur or professional political scientist.
Mar 7, 2008
Tocqueville: Still relevant, still worth your time
Tocqueville certainly has an interesting story to tell. A young man in his twenties when he wrote the first volume, he was a great intellectual of his time. It is interesting how a book 150 years old can still hold so many truths for the United States and the concept of fledgling democracies-- and still be such an enjoyable read! Don't be daunted by the page count, this enjoyable and informative text flies by, and you'll enjoy every minute of it.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-02-09 It's hard to think of a work that has so influenced our understanding of the United States as this-still the most authoritative, reflective set of observations about American institutions and the American character ever written. That its author was a Frenchman, and an aristocrat at that, and that he was balanced and penetrating has often occasioned rueful surprise. However, de Tocqueville's distance from his subject is precisely what lends his observations such continuing currency. A few decades ago, for instance, we read Tocqueville for his prediction that Russia and the United States would one day contest for pre-eminence. Now, we ought to read him (Iraqis and Afghans should, too) for his classic analyses of the link between political parties and free associations and for his reflections on such matters as religion and public life, and "self-interest properly understood." But many solid translations exist. Why another? Because the Library of America would be incomplete without this canonical work of history and sociology. And this translation by Goldhammer, the dean of American translators from the French, accomplishes what it's hard to believe possible: it lends to this unalterably grave work some zest. Never slipping into slang, it gives a colloquial cast, fitting for our time, to a work normally rendered only with high solemnity. The Library of America claims that its editions will stay in print forever. This one's likely to stand that test. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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