Democracy in America - Volume 1 Kindle Edition
Browse award-winning titles. See more
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.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
For those interested in early US history, political history and political theory/philosophy, this is a must read! I just can't understand how university students can make it through their degree programs, such as history (like mine) and political science, without ever having to read this in a class! I never had to and I think it's a joke that other students aren't required to either. If you were than that's great! I'm reading it for fun and for my own education because I've discovered, after thousands of dollars spent on getting a BA in history, that one must never let school get in the way of your education.
Anyways, with regards to this particular version- it's free for a reason. I have this on my kindle fire HD, and I don't like the format; it makes it hard to "get into the groove" because it just gives off this sort of jumbled feeling which makes it difficult for me to concentrate. Second, I don't like how they did the footnotes. With other free books I've gotten, they have hyperlinks to be able to jump back and forth between footnotes. This one, however, just has them there but not in any sort of order. You'll be reading and then suddenly there are footnotes and then suddenly you're back into the text. Again, that has to do with the format. It causes confusion.
I also don't like the translation. I'm not sure which translation this is, but I don't prefer it. The actual copies of the work that I have in my personal library are from the Library of America (which you can get here on Amazon) and is the Arthur Goldhammer translation. Goldhammer's translation is wonderful! The English in that version flows naturally and, if I didn't know that it was originally in French, I would've thought it was originally in English, which is how a translation is supposed to be. I've compared sections between the free version and the Goldhammer translation and there's a huge difference between the two, and I'm just not satisfied with this free version's translation.
So, again, I give the work itself 10 stars. 2 stars goes to the free version.
An advantage of older texts is that the authors had no premonitions about political correctness. They told it as they saw it. Tocqueville's views on Black slavery reflect what he heard and observed. He may not have been right, but he is worth reading if only because his opinions would not find a publisher today. You can find the most telling, and longest, chapter by Googling "THE PRESENT AND PROBABLE FUTURE CONDITION OF THE THREE RACES THAT INHABIT THE TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES." He foresaw that the problems among the races could not be resolved, and predicted the kinds of conflicts that would arise.
His prognostications about the fragility of American democracy, and the forces that might undo it, are also quite on target.
As a companion read about Russia of this period, I recommend the Marquis de Custine's Letters from Russia. The differences among Europe, America and Russia that one witnesses today were acutely observed two centuries ago by these two remarkable Frenchmen.
As for the work, the writing is dated. It is not an easy read. One has to proceed slowly. A reader who is only looking for an easy, light, read will not enjoy this. Personally I mix my reading, a little heavy reading with some light reading. To much heavy reading makes me weary. If a reader is like me, try mixing this in with a popular novel. It makes it less dreary. I have read it twice while listening to an audiobook. But I just read a little at a time and then think about what I have just read.
What I think is unique about this book is that it was composed by French nobleman about America, prior to the Civil War, when, of course, there was still slavery. The author seems to me to put the American form of government in its most favorable light. I often wonder if, even with our terrible social injustice of the time, we looked a lot better than anything going on in France.
The author seems almost oblivious to slavery. I often wonder if he is trying to advocate Democracy to the people of France and therefor avoids our most obvious shortcoming.
I am completely uncredentialed when it comes to this sort of analysis. But I have also read some of the writings of Thomas Paine that are that of an America, and directed towards Europe. Mr. Paine provides all sorts of "helpful advice" on how Europe can improve things if only they act more like America. So what? Well Mr. Paine is resides in the American South at the time of slavery and has little to say on the subject, compared to all the helpful advice he provides to Europe about how to get their house in order.
I still feel this is a very great work and provides great fuel for thought as it exists. I do not think it is a perfect work in the sense of a completely objective analysis of a perfectly fair American form of government. Again, I also think this is an outstanding value from Kindle. Thank You...
Another good read, along with this book, is The Federalist Papers to get the flavor of problems the citizens were wrestling with during the early 19th Century.Democracy in America (Penguin Classics)