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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (Revised Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Fareed Zakaria
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“A work of tremendous originality and insight. ... Makes you see the world differently.”—Washington Post


Translated into twenty languages ?The Future of Freedom ?is a modern classic that uses historical analysis to shed light on the present, examining how democracy has changed our politics, economies, and social relations. Prescient in laying out the distinction between democracy and liberty, the book contains a new afterword on the United States's occupation of Iraq and a wide-ranging update of the book's themes.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Democracy is not inherently good, Zakaria (From Wealth to Power) tells us in his thought-provoking and timely second book. It works in some situations and not others, and needs strong limits to function properly. The editor of Newsweek International and former managing editor of Foreign Affairs takes us on a tour of democracy's deficiencies, beginning with the reminder that in 1933 Germans elected the Nazis. While most Western governments are both democratic and liberal-i.e., characterized by the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic rights-the two don't necessarily go hand in hand. Zakaria praises countries like Singapore, Chile and Mexico for liberalizing their economies first and then their political systems, and compares them to other Third World countries "that proclaimed themselves democracies immediately after their independence, while they were poor and unstable, [but] became dictatorships within a decade." But Zakaria contends that something has also gone wrong with democracy in America, which has descended into "a simple-minded populism that values popularity and openness." The solution, Zakaria says, is more appointed bodies, like the World Trade Organization and the U.S. Supreme Court, which are effective precisely because they are insulated from political pressures. Zakaria provides a much-needed intellectual framework for many current foreign policy dilemmas, arguing that the United States should support a liberalizing dictator like Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf, be wary of an elected "thug" like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and take care to remake Afghanistan and Iraq into societies that are not merely democratic but free.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Newsweek International's editor exposes the down side of democracy, i.e., the assumption that what's popular is right.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 498 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Revised Edition edition (October 17, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000WJOW6M
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,696 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Challenge of the Twenty-First Century April 13, 2003
Format:Hardcover
I only became of Dr. Zakaria recently, when I read a piece he wrote called "The Arrogant Empire," a incisive piece on the hubristic and messianic foreign policy of the Bush Administration. After a little research I quickly discovered that Dr. Zakaria is some kind of foreign-policy wunderkind, who became an editor of the presitigious magazine Foreign Affairs at the age of twenty-eight. This book clearly demonstrates that his precipitious climb to the top of the intelletual heap of America is certainly well-deserved.
This book is a remarkable guide to the major challenges, both foreign and domestic, that face America in the twenty-first century. The thesis of this book is essentially that too much democratization and decentralization, two notions that are often hailed as universally good, can be disasterous. This argument is not new, as Dr. Zakaria readily admits. What is new is the contextualization of these problems to the modern world.
The author brilliantly analyzes both foreign and domestic policy through the prism of what he calls "Illiberal Democracy." The analysis is both lucid and cogent, and it is remarkable how much insight exists on every page. Dr. Zakaria is a polymath with prodigious analytical ability, and, as a result, both knowledge and sagacity ooze off the page.
The book ranges from topic to topic, yet still remains coherent. Dr. Zakaria ranges from topics such as Islamic Fundamentalism, to the decline of Congressional presitige on the national political stage, to the virtual disintigration of good governence in the state of California. Despite his reputation as a foreign policy maven, his analysis of domestic affairs is also brilliant:
"The deregulation of democracy has gone too far ...
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123 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of a New Political Discourse April 4, 2003
By Gautner
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
America has been fortunate in the last fifty years to have had brilliant authors plotting both the possible and plausible courses of her foreign policy. There are few seminal works though - ones that somehow palpably alter the structures within which everything we consider must necessarily be examined. After Sir Winston's Churchill's warnings of an Iron Curtain descending across Europe, we were given the equally prophetic George F. Kennan who wrote his famous article in Foreign Affairs. As the decades clicked by and liberal democracy seemed to progress unchecked, Francis Fukuyama presented his "The End of History and the Last Man." Another decade sped by, and as globalization and interdependence became the focus for international theory academics, pundits, and practitioners alike, Samuel P. Huntington alerted the world to another problem in his "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" (again first printed in Foreign Affairs). More recently we've been given Robert Kagan's "Of Paradise and Power," which, while it certainly puts the trans-Atlantic relationship in perspective for us, the world remains a bit hazy. This is especially true if one considers that neither Huntington nor Fukuyama has been unequivocally disproved; and hence, the world seems all the more complex.
Hence, Fareed Zakaria arrives on the doorstep of our minds, and like those before him, offers his book as a substitute for a crystal ball. Indeed, Dr. Zakaria has received favorable reviews by Huntington, which accurately note that this is a study that hasn't been articulated since Aristotle and Tocqueville. The major premise is this: unregulated democracy undermines liberty and the rule of law. There are a plethora of parallels to be drawn from this domestically (e.g.
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141 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This year's "must read" by the new Walter Lippmann April 7, 2003
Format:Hardcover
Along with Tom Friedman, Zakaria is one of the country's top foreign affairs columnists. Unlike Friedman's "Longitudes and Attitudes," however, this book isn't just a rehash of old columns. It's a fascinating look at the past, present, and future of democracy, here in the States and all over the world. The book is essential reading, for example, for anybody interested in the Bush administration's attempt to "democratize" Iraq. Basically, Zakaria argues that although we take the concept of "liberal democracy" for granted, in fact the two components of it have not always gone together. "Constitutional liberalism" is responsible for a lot of the good things we like (rule of law, protection of human rights, etc.), but it hasn't always been associated with democracy. Democracy, meanwhile--rule by a popular majority--isn't always or necessarily connnected to liberalism. With these ideas in mind, the author covers an incredible amount of ground, both historically and geographically. And he writes amazingly well, so every page is not just filled with interesting information, but is also lively and fun. This is that rare kind of "big" book, in other words, that people not only talk about, but enjoy reading. If you liked Fukuyama, Huntington, Bernard Lewis, and stuff like that, you'll just love Zakaria...
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear, concise and timely worldview... April 14, 2003
By jmk444
Format:Hardcover
Fareed Zakaria dismantles the view that democracy, in and of itself, is a cure-all for mankind's social ills. In fact, he reserves some high praise for countries like Chile and Singapore, which liberalized their economies first and their political systems later.
Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman worked closely with Chile in liberalizing their economy in the seventies and eighties and Friedman claimed the experience changed his mind about the priority of political freedom in relation to economic liberty, saying he came away realizing that economic freedom was the foundation of all other liberties.
Zakaria is not hesitant to suggest that democracy isn't applicable to every culture, an idea that is highly controversial within the borders of the United States, but that's part of what makes this book so compelling, especially for those interested in the possible dynamics involved in our current attempt to "democratize" Iraq.
Even more controversial is Fareed Zakaria's critique of the current "descent of democracy" in America. In Zakaria's view, American democracy has morphed into "a simple-minded populism" that too often values style over substance.
A lot of readers approach such public policy analyses with trepidation, but Fareed Zakaria is incredibly readable! He makes what so many people regard as "policy wonk stuff," accessible to laymen and professionals alike.
The "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad" is not just a riveting read, it's a book that couldn't be more timely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & thought provoking.
This author is remarkable. His thoughts and findings are well researcher end and quite factual. I've read his other work, and all his books are excellent. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Robert Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars good write-up from the time Zakaria used his own words
Way before he, of all people, did the unforgivable - plagiarized content and rendered the trite unconvincing apology - he showed that he was a master communicator and believer of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by noorilhuda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
His analysis is brilliant! Now I understand why democracies succeed or fail.
Published 3 months ago by Randall S. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking account if the world we live in!
Great sketch of the times we live in, and the connection with the past. An eye opener.
A must read.
Published 4 months ago by s.o.a-a
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to an age-old debate about "democracy",
Mr. Zakaria's entry into this absorbing subject is a must-read for those who need an update on what they believe to be a "democratic" government. Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. B. Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
the book was recommended for school. excellent read
Published 4 months ago by Lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars pertinent analysis of our modern world order...and how we can navigate...
To understand how certain countries manage to remain a structural organized democratic system and why others remain doomed in their quest to live as a free nation..... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Denis Allard
5.0 out of 5 stars Fareed Zakaria is a thinking treasure with much too teach us!
Regrettably I haven't read the book yet, but I think Fareed Zakaria is one of the best thinkers of our time and I NEVER miss his Sunday morning show on CNN--which is shown twice... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Susan C. ONEAL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
well crafted, well researched, VERY well thought out !!,
Published 5 months ago by Stephen M Winber
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Gripping
Very informative and succinct analysis, together with correlation of historical events for a better insight of the future.
Published 5 months ago by Nazar Numan
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More About the Author

Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, best-selling author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom, and a columnist for the Washington Post. He lives in New York City.


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