The Shortest History of Democracy: 4,000 Years of Self-Government―A Retelling for Our Times (Shortest History Series)

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Democracy as a governmental system began when Mesopotamian-Syrian civilization instituted public assemblies for discourse. Centuries later, the Athenians, the poster boys of democracy, grabbed the position as innovators and pioneers, a reputation that continues to hold firm.

In The Shortest History of Democracy, author John Keane, a prominent political historian, describes four thousand years of self-government across countries with divergent political regimes. The title suggests “short,” but do not be deluded, dear readers, the chapters are crammed with detail and strewn with classic and modern terminology inviting a demanding and exciting exercise.

The history is described in three chronological sections. First, Assembly Democracy, disseminated in papyrus and stone, then print communication in Electoral Democracy. Today’s Monitory Democracy travels by mass communication, introduced when computers took over.

The book offers a field day for anyone who enjoys highlighting. Opinions straddle a broad spectrum: in India democracy may be seen as “the fastest way to enable people of different backgrounds and divergent group identities to live together harmoniously without civil war.” Chinese journalist Thomas Hon Wing Polin suggests, more bleakly, how Western democracy “serves the interests of a tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority.” Both views, of course, define the institution of democracy.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher The Experiment
Publish Date 06-Sep-2022
ISBN 9781615198962 Buy this Book
Issue November 2022
Category History