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Tocqueville: Democracy in America (Library of America) Hardcover – February 9, 2004
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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
To read this is to feel that Tocqueville sits in the room with you. The language is modern and vibrant.
More importantly, the depth of his perception, his understanding of the changes wrought upon his world have never been rendered so clearly. There is no feeling of antiquity to these words: you sense the author's awe and admiration for the American experiment.
It would be a better nation if more thinking people read Tocqueville and I can think of no better translation than this one.
What Tocqueville finds is a unique nation. Unlike most other nascent states in history, the English who moved to America found a huge land, practically devoid of people (and in those cases where it was inhabited, they were easily killed), where everybody could be a landowner. This, plus the particular ethics of the Puritans, the glorifiaction of hard work, thrift and virtuosity, provided for a prosperous, practical people (not necessarily tolerant, especially in religious affairs). Far away from kings and emperors, Americans developed a communal democracy. So far so good, Tocquevill really admires the basic qualities of the US.
But this book is not a long eulogy of democracy. Tocqueville admits democracy is the best way to govern a modern society, but that does not mean he thinks it's perfect or endlessly beneficial. Democracy DOES poses risks: among others, the tyranny of the majority, the mediocrity towards which it impels mores; the loneliness of the individual, lost amidst an endless, faceless crowd.Read more ›
This version is worth the extra money.
Tocqueville had a particularly useful background for such an undertaking: his father was a government official and an aristocrat. Tocqueville himself was trained as a lawyer. He also had a splendid intellect, a sensitive disposition, a knack for finding and interviewing people who would become important later on, and an aptitude for listening carefully and recording his impressions in detail. Moreover, he was - like Darwin - profoundly thoughtful when it came to analyzing and distilling the materials he collected, a process he underwent twice - once for each of the two volumes that comprise this work. It bears mention that he was highly ambitious, as befitted his lineage, and yearned for fame, which he obtained largely because of this book, as opposed to fortune, which he already had.
During a trip that led them to Ohio, Niagara Falls, Canada and New Orleans, Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as the nation's capital, Tocqueville and his friend Gustav de Beaumont encountered the travails of travel by wagon, stagecoach, canoe and steamboat, sometimes with hair-raising results.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The bigest problem with the book is the lack of chapter headings, the only thing in the Kindle version is chapter numbers. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
The book is an observation and interpretation of Democracy in the newly formed United States of America, by a foreign visitor, gifted with great insight and understanding.Published 22 days ago by robert king
If i ran this country this book would be required reading. In fact you would have to prove some level of proficiency in understanding it in order to vote. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Charles Martell
Excellent tome on our government. Takes some patience to read.Published 1 month ago by Bernard H. Kamerman
I always enjoy an author who has a common sense, realistic view of what is going on with the political system.Published 1 month ago by shamrock bones