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Democracy in America and Two Essays on America (Penguin Classics) (13th printing) Edition
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“No better study of a nation’s institutions and culture than Tocqueville’s Democracy in America has ever been written by a foreign observer.” –The New York Times
“The Bradley edition of Tocqueville’s classic is the best now available in English.” –Charles A. Beard
“Professor Bradley’s edition should remain the standard one for our time.” –F. O. Matthiessen
With an Introduction by Alan Ryan
About the Author
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59), a French sociologist and historian, was active in the law and served for a time as foreign minister. He also wrote L'Ancien Régime.
Gerald Bevan is the translator.
Issac Kramnick is Professor of Government at Cornell and edited The Federalist Papers for Penguin.
Top customer reviews
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In his long, brilliant and sage book he looks at America in
1831. He points out American love for the practical, the religious community minded Americans who also enjoy making money in the volatile and exciting new nation.
It would take several textbooks to explain and expound all De
DeTocqueville discovered on his eye opening trip to the USA.
C-Span a few years ago devoted several programs to following his
footsteps across our broad land.
The book looks out how America works from township meetings,
to the state and federal levels. His analysis of the US Constitution is erudite. His view of American morals and religion is worth reading.
Any politician and informed citizen should read this classic.
The Penguin edition is beautifully designed. Two chapters at the
end of the book deal with De Tocqueville's visit to the wilderness and his visit to Indians. De Tocqueville's analysis of
slavery and how we treat our native Americans is incisive and
Democracy in America is one of the seminal books of the American experience.
I can't give it a full 5 stars, simply because the writing is not always gripping, and some of his opinions are outlined in such a way that it is hard to evaluate whether they could ever be false. It certainly earns its 4 stars with many ideas and insights that are easy to understand and follow logical chains to conclusions that seem very applicable to US society back then.
If you have an interest in this book (you want to know about US society in the early 1800s), I would recommend it, but if you are just looking at it because it's a "famous" work, I don't know that you will find it very enlightening. It has a lot of analyzing of ideas, but if you don't have a prior interest in the US of the era, it is hard for me to believe this will inspire enough interest in you to continue reading.