Even as Russia and the other former Soviet republics struggle to redefine themselves in democratic terms, our own democracy if faltering, not flourishing. We confront one another as aggrieved groups rather than as free citizens. Cynicism, boredom, apathy, despair, violencethese have become coin of the civic realm. They are dark signs of the times and a warning that democracy may not be up to the task of satisfying the yearnings it unleashesyearnings for freedom, fairness, and equality.In this timely, thought-provoking book, one of America's leading political philosophers and public intellectuals questions whether democracy will prove sufficiently robust and resilient to survive the century. Beginning with a catalogue of our discontents, Jean Bethke Elshtain asks what has gone wrong and why. She draws on examples from America and other parts of the world as she explores the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender identitycontroversial, and essential, political issues of our day. Insisting that there is much to cherish in our democratic traditions, she concludes that democracy involves a permanent clash between conservatism and progressive change.Elshtain distinguishes her own position from those of both the Left and the Right, demonstrating why she has been called one of our most interesting and independent civic thinkers. Responding to critics of democracy, ancient and modern, Elshtain urges us to have the courage of our most authentic democratic convictions. We need, she insists, both hope and a sense of reality.Writing her book for citizens, not experts, Elshtain aims to open up a dialogue and to move us beyond sterile sectarian disputes. Democracy on Trial will generate wide debate and controversy.
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About the Author
Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Just War Against Terror and Democracy on Trial, among other books. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois.
What People are Saying About This
"Elshtain's is a brilliant voice calling us away from cynicism and toward citizenship. In her hands democracy is not a tired word from a dusty civis book but a moral challenge, an achievable ideal, and a source of hope."
"A powerful moral statement about the meaning of democracy."