Democracy in America
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-young country, he succeeded 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."
In addition to a brilliant, perceptive outline of "the philosophical method of the Americans," Volume II of Democracy in America includes the oddly modern-sounding "Why the Americans Are So Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity," the surprising and provocative "How Americans Understand the Equality of the Sexes," and the more archaic "The Study of Greek and Latin is Peculiarly Useful in Democratic Communities." This edition--which many consider the best--contains the Henry Reeve text, revised by Francis Bowen, and further edited with introduction, editorial notes, and bibliographies by Phillips Bradley.
"No better study of a nation's institutions and culture than Tocqueville's Democracy in America
has ever been written by a foreign observer; none perhaps as good."
--The New York Times
Praise for the work of Joseph Epstein:
"Epstein is one of the premier contemporary American essayists...What is so remarkable about Epstein as an essay writer is that he'll begin a discussion at some personal place...and end up in another place relevant to us all. He enjoys making language work, not making it jump through hoops for show." --Booklist
"Joseph Epstein is an essayist in the brilliant tradition of Charles Lamb. He moves so effortlessly from the amusingly personal to the broadly philosophical that it takes a moment before you realize how far out into the intellectual cosmos you've been taken."
"Joseph Epstein's essays no more need his identifying byline than Van Gogh's paintings need his signature. Epstein's style--call it learned whimsy--is unmistakable; for Epstein addicts, indispensable."
"Joseph Epstein is the liveliest, most erudite and engaging essayist we have." --James Atlas
"If Epstein's ultimate ancestor is Montaigne, his more immediate master is Mencken. Like Mencken, he has fashioned a style that successfully combines elegance and even bookishness with street-smart colloquial directness. And there is nothing remote or aloof about him."
--John Gross, Chicago TribuneFrom the Paperback edition.