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Janine Di GiovanniDiamond is a meticulous social scientist who, in Squandered Victory, took on the task of studying America's bungled effort to bring democracy to Iraq. The Spirit of Democracy takes on the world, with Diamond leaping from Malawi to Singapore to Venezuela. He looks at countries that broke down after the post-1974 "third wave" of democracy and have yet to recover, not only obvious examples like corruption-ridden Nigeria, but also Nepal, Thailand and the Solomon Islands. He studies what he calls "the pathology of personal rule" in Africa, along with the role of monarchy, populism and Islam in the Middle East. One might easily assume from such a discouraging survey that The Spirit of Democracy is a gigantic downer. In fact, Diamond is anything but pessimistic: he believes that most of the world, one way or another, can move toward democracy.
—The New York Times