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Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide (Eminent Lives) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 7, 2006
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Yet in his own time, Tocqueville had little evidence for the truth of his ideas. Introspective, sickly, prone to self-doubt, he was an unlikely visionary. Joseph Epstein, America's most versatile essayist, proves an ideal guide to his predecessor. In wry, elegant prose, he engages Tocqueville's intellectual contributions, illuminates the development of his thought, and provides a referendum on his various prophecies. (His record was far from perfecthe thought the federal government would wither away as the states rose in power.) Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide is an altogether human portrait of the Frenchman who would become an American icon.
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Top Customer Reviews
When Tocqueville faced his notes on American politics he had writer's block. Beaumont wrote the report on prisons. To create comparisons, Tocqueville traveled to England. He discovered that in England governmental functions were decentralized. The aristocracy was less unitary than the French aristocracy. Tocqueville spent a little less than s year on the first volume of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. It was published in 1835 and was a smashing success. Tocqueville's ambition crippled his haoppiness. He became a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1839. Tocqueville had trouble talking to voters, he had little vocation for politics. Tocqueville wrote Volume Two of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. He feared a loss of liberty. He thought equality a danger. The second part was published in 1840. It was not as successful as the first.
Epstein's work is an intellectual portrait of Tocqueville. He has read DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA three times.Read more ›
As the author notes, de Tocqueville has resisted definitive classification through the years in terms of his profession, his political leanings, and his ranking as a profound philosopher. The biggest debate concerns his being a conservative or a liberal. The contention that he was a Christian conservative is countered by the crisis in religious belief that he underwent in his late teens that affected him the rest of his life and the fact that he was no lover of monarchy or aristocracy, seeing the spread of equality and democracy, not without their own shortcomings, as inevitable. Perhaps de Tocqueville was not of the intellectual stature of a Marx or Stuart Mill, but he was a keen observer and organizer of political and social phenomena, able to offer profound, often prophetic, insights concerning their bases.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
epstein as always is warm hearted conservative, with a lively literary style. He reminds you of how vital de Tocqueville is.Published 18 months ago by Old dog
Beautifully written biography of this outstanding Frenchman.Published on July 10, 2014 by Mary A. Alcorn
Joseph Epstein's Tocqueville is every bit as good as his Astaire biography, and that is saying something. Epstein is the country's premiere essayist. Read morePublished on June 6, 2014 by William Lilley III
I had purchased the book from another source for 4.95 and I am glad to admit I had not paid full price. Read morePublished on December 20, 2010 by Amazon Customer