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Democracy without Nations?: The Fate of Self-Government in Europe (Crosscurrents (ISI Books))

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933859422
ISBN-10: 1933859423
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Editorial Reviews


“Of today’s major European philosophers, Pierre Manent is the one with the profoundest understanding of democratic man.” —Christopher Caldwell, Weekly Standard

“An excellent introduction to the work of an important thinker, whose ideas help us understand the temptations of the EU’s utopian dream—and its dangers . . . A timely reminder of how much we stand to lose if we follow Europe down that road.” —City Journal

“This perfect refutation of a tempation to hide oneself in a utopia—to no longer exist—is provided as a salutary warning to citizens as well as politicians.” —L’Express

“Manent raises questions about the fragile bond between nationality and self-governance that we would do well to answer.” —Chronicles

“At a time when the European Union has emancipated itself entirely from the loyalties and identities that provided its original meaning, let us hope that the Eurocrats will read Manent’s study, and come to see how crazy they are.” —Roger Scruton, author of The West and the Rest

About the Author

Pierre Manent teaches political philosophy in the Centre de recherches politiques Raymond Aron in Paris. His previous works in English include the groundbreaking Tocqueville and the Nature of Democracy, The City of Man, and An Intellectual History of Liberalism.


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Product Details

  • Series: Crosscurrents (ISI Books)
  • Hardcover: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933859423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933859422
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The French have so assiduously cultivated their knack for glib philosophizing that most Americans less credulous than professors of English literature have lost all interest in French intellectual life. They sense that the French are more interested in expounding novelties than truths.

This state of affairs is doubly unfortunate. That handful of contemporary French thinkers who are immune to the Parisian infatuation with fashion and fads are heirs to a grand tradition, including Montesquieu and Tocqueville. Moreover, the French language may be more conducive to lucid rationality than any other tongue.

Finally, as irritating as French arrogance can be, it's often rooted in a genuine and admirable national pride, a patriotism seldom found in other European countries in the 21st Century.

Among the most acute and sagacious French political philosophers of our era is Pierre Manent. He began his career as the assistant to Raymond Aron, the liberal intellectual who served during the 1960s as the tribune of common sense in a France in love with insane ideologies--epitomized by Aron's École nationale d'administration classmate and life-long rival, the pro-Communist existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

Over the last decade, Manent has turned from the study of the great thinkers of the past to grappling with new problems--above all the European grandees' attempt to suffocate national self-rule within the bureaucratic European Union.

Manent's forthcoming work from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a short (103 pp) and highly readable book entitled Democracy Without Nations: The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, translated by Paul Seaton. It's of particular interest to VDARE.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John A. Flink on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Manent's point is simple enough: Nation-states are the mechanisms that let like-minded people pursue their idea of happiness most efficiently. Even though they are both capitalist democracies rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition, France, for example, is a little different from Germany because French people are a little different from Germans. Makes good sense and is the best, and simplest, argument against further integration of the European Union. Or any other collection of similar states, for that matter. Already short, this book could have been half as long if Manent had resisted the urge to write in florid academic prose. Such a simple, elegant idea deserves wider dissemination than it will get in this form. Presented in AP style the same idea would reach many more people and, just maybe, foment the kind of action Manent seems to want.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eve Grissom on July 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author really knows his subject matter and makes his seemingly disparate points well, but his writing style is dense and flowery - sometimes within the same passage - throughout the book. It made reading the book a really chore. While I strongly adree with the author's assessments, I would not have finished reading it if not for grad school.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incredibly thought provoking book. Should be required reading for high school civics, to both understand the European Union, and the dangers of giving away your rights to a supranational government bent on destroying the sovereignty of the nations that created it, as well as their economies and the concept of representative democracy
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