Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.22 shipping
Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America: A new translation by Arthur Goldhammer (Library of America) Hardcover – February 9, 2004
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
It's hard to think of a work that has so influenced our understanding of the United States as thisstill 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Tocqueville enjoys a unique position in the history of literature and thought: a philosopher also notable as a literary stylist, he is the only Frenchman who can claim to be part of the American canon as well as the French."
Tocqueville enjoys a unique position in the history of literature and thought: a philosopher also notable as a literary stylist, he is the only Frenchman who can claim to be part of the American canon as well as the French. (Arthur Goldhammer, translator)
aTocqueville enjoys a unique position in the history of literature and thought: a philosopher also notable as a literary stylist, he is the only Frenchman who can claim to be part of the American canon as well as the French.a (Arthur Goldhammer, translator)
?Tocqueville enjoys a unique position in the history of literature and thought: a philosopher also notable as a literary stylist, he is the only Frenchman who can claim to be part of the American canon as well as the French.? (Arthur Goldhammer, translator)
Top customer reviews
Alexis de Tocqueville provides unique and informative prospectives from his travels through America within two generations of it's founding. Obviously a well-read, intelligent, and informed, he contrasts the adoption of the principles of individual liberty in America with the much different conditions in Europe. While his emphasis is on 'democracy', it is actually a study on how the strengths of democracy that secure individual Liberty were applied while avoiding the pitfalls experienced by every other attempt to apply democracy that end in tyranny of the majority.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in the America that created the most amazing example of self-rule: the Constitutional Republic that has produced the most productive, inclusive, innovative, charitable and powerful society in human history.
As America confronts assaults on our Constitutional Republic from within and without, it is inspiring to be reminded how exceptional is the American Experiment; and how essential it is that informed Sovereign Citizens restore the Constitutional governance that is American Exceptionalism.
I can't possibly begin to touch on every issue Tocqueville discusses in this book, but I'll try to mention a few. For Tocqueville, America offered a unique opportunity for democracy to grow and flourish. He discusses the advantages of geographic location, the Puritan settlers in New England, the townships that developed, the formation of the states and the eventual Union formally established by the U.S. Constitution written in 1787. In addition to the external factors that evinced a democratic society, he gave careful attention to the interests, beliefs, habits and mores that united Americans North and South, East and West (though there were some obvious economic and social differences between these geographic segments).
America did not possess a ruling class, and Tocqueville discusses what he called the equality of conditions that he saw in this county. Americans believed they were equal to each other, especially in regards to their ability to obtain wealth and prosperity. The people also viewed themselves as sovereign; they had representative leaders, but ultimately those leaders were and remain accountable to the people. Tocqueville is not hesitant to point out some bad sides to democracy, or at least potentially bad tendencies that could develop. Such topics as the tyranny of the majority, individual impotence in the face of democracy's dependence on the force of the public as a single body, lack of greater intellectual pursuits and accomplishments (though he admits this is a result of our busy lives and our desire to find quick answers and solutions). He seems to be most disappointed with the mediocrity that he sees as resulting when all things seem equal. The dangers of tyranny and despotism also linger.
Tocqueville saw signs of potential future conflict, especially considering the presence of slavery. He envisioned a war between the races as very possible. He also discussed the effects of white settlement and their interaction with the Native Americans as well. His judgement seemed to be that the Native Americans were doomed once the white settlers arrived and started moving west. In addition to conflicts among people, he saw the growing concentration of power as almost inevitable. Our history has especially proven the growth of our national government. And there are so many other observations Tocqueville discusses on the future of democracy not only in this country, but for any democratic society. He had his fears and hopes.
There are so many things I'm leaving out, but I was truly impressed with this man's astute observations on our form of government and our society in general and what some of the positive and negative sides to democracy were (and are). There are topics touched on that will cause you to immediately grasp how applicable they are to life today. A must read.
Most recent customer reviews
survives this archaic "translation" into late 19 th century textbook obtuseness.Read more