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How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
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How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
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Jan 08, 2019 | ISBN 9781524762940

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    Jan 08, 2019 | ISBN 9781524762940

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  • Jan 16, 2018 | ISBN 9780525587958

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“Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies have collapsed elsewhere—not just through violent coups, but more commonly (and insidiously) through a gradual slide into authoritarianism. . . . How Democracies Die is a lucid and essential guide to what can happen here.”The New York Times

“The most important book of the Trump era was not Bob Woodward’s Fear or Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury or any of the other bestselling exposes of the White House circus. Arguably it was a wonkish tome by two Harvard political scientists, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, published a year into Donald Trump’s presidency and entitled How Democracies Die.The Economist

“If you want to understand what’s happening to our country, the book you really need to read is How Democracies Die.”—Paul Krugman

“Fair warning: reading Levitsky and Ziblatt will leave you very, very unsettled. They make a powerful case that we really and truly are in uncharted territory, living in a moment when the line between difficult times and dark times has blurred.”Washington Monthly

“Carefully researched and persuasive . . . the authors show the fragility of even the best democracies and also caution politicians . . . who think they can somehow co-opt autocrats without getting burned. . . . How Democracies Die provides a guide for Americans of all political persuasions for what to avoid.”USA Today

“Scholarly and readable, alarming and level-headed . . . the greatest of the many merits of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s contribution to what will doubtless be the ballooning discipline of democracy death studies is their rejection of western exceptionalism.”The Guardian

“[An] important new book.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

“The political-science text in vogue this winter is How Democracies Die.”The New Yorker

“How Democracies Die
studies the modern history of apparently healthy democracies that have slid into autocracy. It is hard to read this fine book without coming away terribly concerned about the possibility Trump might inflict a mortal wound on the health of the republic…. It is simplistic to expect boots marching in the streets, but there will be a battle for democracy.”—Jonathan Chait,
New York magazine

“The great strength of Levitsky and Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die is that it rejects the exceptionalist account of US democracy. Their lens is comparative. The authors say America is not immune to the trends that have led to democracy’s collapse in other parts of the world.”Financial Times

“A powerful wake-up call.”—Foreign Affairs

“The big advantage of political scientists over even the shrewdest and luckiest of eavesdropping journalists is that they have the training to give us a bigger picture…. [Levitsky and Ziblatt] bring to bear useful global and historical context . . . [showing] the mistakes democratic politicians make as they let dangerous demagogues into the heart of power.”The Sunday Times

“If this were fiction, the thrills of this book would remind you of the thrills you had when you first read 1984, It Can’t Happen Here, The Plot Against America and The Handmaid’s Tale. If this were fiction, you could lie in the sand and enjoy the read. But this book is not fiction. And this book is not just about the past. And this book is not just about other countries. [It] should be on your reading list this summer.”—Tufts Now

“Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt offer one of the best forensic accounts available of the crimes against democracy in America…. The diagnosis is compelling, and their book is essential, even compulsive, reading.”Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

“[How Democracies Die] is a stellar deep-dive into a series of modern democracies that ceased to be.”—Daily Kos

“Maybe have a drink before digging into this one. Levitsky and Ziblatt trace the fall of democracies throughout history with agonizing clarity, going right up to our current perilous moment.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Levitsky and Ziblatt are not entirely pessimistic . . . but they leave readers in no doubt that they should be worried about the state of American democracy.”Slate

“Chilling . . . A provocative analysis of the parallels between Donald Trump’s ascent and the fall of other democracies.”Kirkus Reviews

“Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have offered a brilliant diagnosis of the most important issue facing our world: Can democracy survive? With clinical precision and an extraordinary grasp of history, they point to the warning signs of decay and define the obligations of those who would preserve free government. If there is an urgent book for you to read at this moment, it is How Democracies Die.”—E.J. Dionne Jr., co-author of One Nation After Trump
“Levitsky and Ziblatt are leading scholars of democracy in other parts of the world, who with great energy and integrity now apply their expertise to the current problems of the United States. The reader feels the intellectual excitement, and also the political warning, as the authors draw the connections from their own vast knowledge to the chaos that we experience each day.”—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

“We live in perilous times. Anyone who is concerned about the future of American democracy should read this brisk, accessible book. Anyone who is not concerned should definitely read it.”—Daron Acemoglu, co-author of Why Nations Fail

“Readers will not find an anti-Trump screed in How Democracies Die. The book is more erudite than alarmist . . . but that makes [Levitsky and Ziblatt’s] clarity on the risk of both Trump and wider political developments all the more powerful.”California magazine

“All Americans who care about the future of their country should read this magisterial, compelling book, which sweeps across the globe and through history to analyze how democracies die. The result is an unforgettable framework for diagnosing the state of affairs here at home and our prospects for recovery.”—Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration and Cuz

“Two years ago, a book like this could not have been written: two leading political scientists who are expert in the breakdown of democracy in other parts of the world using that knowledge to inform Americans of the dangers their democracy faces today. We owe the authors a debt of thanks for bringing their deep understanding to bear on the central political issue of the day.”—Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay

“In this brilliant historical synthesis, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how the actions of elected leaders around the world have paved the road to democratic failure, and why the United States is now vulnerable to this same downward spiral. This book should be widely and urgently read as a clarion call to restore the shared beliefs and practices—beyond our formal constitution—that constitute the essential ‘guardrails’ for preserving democracy.”—Larry Diamond, author of The Spirit of Democracy

“Thorough and well-argued . . . the biggest strength of How Democracies Die is its bluntness of language in describing American history—a bluntness that often goes missing when we discuss our own past.”Pacific Standard

“Required reading for every American . . . [How Democracies Die] shows the daily slings and arrows that can gradually crush our liberties, without the drama of a revolution or a military coup.”The Philadelphia Inquirer


Goldsmiths Book Prize WINNER 2019

Lionel Gelber Prize SHORTLIST 2019

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