Prompted by events in recent years in the UK and the USA, in Latin America, Russia and the Middle East, A. C. Grayling investigates why the institutions of representative democracy seem unable to sustain themselves against forces they were designed to manage, and why it matters.
In each of five short chapters, he considers a moment in history in which the challenges we face today were first encountered, how they were overcome – or not – and with what consequences. With the advent of authoritarian leaders and the simultaneous rise of populism, representative democracy appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place, yet it is this space that it must occupy, argues Grayling, if a civilized society, that looks after all its people, is to flourish.
About the Author
A. C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, UK. He has written and edited numerous works of philosophy and is the author of biographies of Descartes and William Hazlitt.
He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news.
He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups.
`Grayling incisively surveys attempts by Western thinkers, from Plato and Aristotle to Madison and Tocqueville, to resolve what he calls the "dilemma of democracy": the tension between the belief that power belongs ultimately to the people, and the desire for stable and humane government.' * Wall Street Journal *
`We are mystified, alarmed, even frightened by the cascade of events that beset our world. A. C. Grayling not only clarifies the way in which these events are challenging the workings of democracy - amid the rise in populism in response - but comes up with solutions.' -- Jon Snow, journalist and broadcaster
`A. C. Grayling applies his great intellectual prowess to the most pressing issue of our times - the subversion of modern democracies by dark money, corporate power, Big Data, social media and fractured political party systems. Utterly brilliant. Urgently needed. A book for NOW.' * Helena Kennedy, QC *
`A compelling and deeply unsettling dissection of the way in which democratic principles have been subverted by vested interests in the UK and the USA. This book shows that democracy can only be defended if we first understand how it is being attacked.' -- Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister
`A compelling book worthy of being shelved alongside the Federalist Papers and Two Treatises of Government.' * Kirkus *
`A concise, clear and challenging survey of the history of democracy, its recent failures and how we might repair it.' * Shelf Awareness *