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Models of Democracy, 3rd Edition
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book as an entry road into democratic theory. It is far-reaching but not too superficial, the analysis and interpretation are spot on, and the critical lines persued are persuasive and important. Although the solution is not fully expanded Held makes it clear that this is not his intention as this is primarily a survey of democratic theory over the years rather than a constructive thesis.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Held maps different models of democracy, from the Athenian to the present liberal democracy. In chapters 2 and 3 he explains basic concepts, such as Republicanism, elective government, sovereignty, representation, and the general will. In chapter 3, Held also analyses the emergence of the present liberal democracy.

Chapter 4 is about direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy. One would expect this chapter to be related to the Athenian model but this is not the case. Held speaks about the Marxist/socialist and communist variants of democracy. No comparison is made between these models and the classical model.

Part II of the book consists of five chapters (5-9) relating to variants of democracy from the 20th century: elitism, pluralism, legal democracy, participatory democracy. Then there is a curious, short chapter (8) about the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe which raises many issues and leaves many questions unanswered. This chapter does not do justice to the complexity of the issues, and does not really shed ample light on the transformation, democratization, similarities and differences between the countries in Eastern Europe. It is the weakest chapter in the book.

Chapter 9 is about deliberative democracy. One would expect a comparative analysis between this model and the pluralist model. What Held offers is a succinct discussion (pp. 252-255) on value pluralism and democracy that only starts the analysis but is far from completing it.

The last part of the book consists of two chapters (10 and 11). It is titled What should democracy mean today? And it discusses democratic autonomy, democratic legitimacy and it returns to the question of sovereignty. Here Held posits the cosmopolitan model of democracy in which a global parliament connects regions, nations and localities.

This book is very interesting. It provides food for thought as well as ample criticisms. Held's dissections of democracy and the models he offers show just how complicated the concept of democracy, and the extent that it opens for interpretation. With so many models, the reader might become confused, especially when the differences and similarities between the different models are not explained carefully, or at all. Held has many thoughts but he attempted too much. With so many trees, it is difficult to see the forest. The book would be better served if Held were to offer a few models, explain them thoroughly, and compare them comprehensively.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
My professor selected this book to supplement my government class. This is an excellent book that teaches its audience about democracy. I love how Held talks about each model of democracy without siding with any model. However, you must have patience to understand the book because the language is a bit complex. My professor picked an excellent book for government class!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is an excellent initial foray into what democracy means, the historical growth of democracy, and the fractal divisions that lead to its many different forms. Highly recommended as a starting point for studying this form of government.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a useful analysis of the differing interpretations of what democracy should be, from ancient civilisations to modern times. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in thinking about democracy.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Excellent introduction into political theory, giving good background on the current political debates. However, the solution proposed, a "cosmopolitian democracy", does not seem very concrete.
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on January 25, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Good.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Provides an objective and true democracy and its historical evolution. Personally I marry the cosmopolitan ism and democratic development option for the next century.
Ernesto egmconsult.com
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was from a required readinglist for an undergraduate political science course. Don't have a review for the content yet.
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