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The Man Who Understood Democracy Olivier Zunz

The Man Who Understood Democracy von Olivier Zunz

The Man Who Understood Democracy Olivier Zunz

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The Man Who Understood Democracy Zusammenfassung

The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville Olivier Zunz

A definitive biography of the French aristocrat who became one of democracy's greatest champions

In 1831, at the age of twenty-five, Alexis de Tocqueville made his fateful journey to America, where he observed the thrilling reality of a functioning democracy. From that moment onward, the French aristocrat would dedicate his life as a writer and politician to ending despotism in his country and bringing it into a new age. In this authoritative and groundbreaking biography, leading Tocqueville expert Olivier Zunz tells the story of a radical thinker who, uniquely charged by the events of his time, both in America and France, used the world as a laboratory for his political ideas.

Placing Tocqueville's dedication to achieving a new kind of democracy at the center of his life and work, Zunz traces Tocqueville's evolution into a passionate student and practitioner of liberal politics across a trove of correspondence with intellectuals, politicians, constituents, family members, and friends. While taking seriously Tocqueville's attempts to apply the lessons of Democracy in America to French politics, Zunz shows that the United States, and not only France, remained central to Tocqueville's thought and actions throughout his life. In his final years, with France gripped by an authoritarian regime and America divided by slavery, Tocqueville feared that the democratic experiment might be failing. Yet his passion for democracy never weakened.

Giving equal attention to the French and American sources of Tocqueville's unique blend of political philosophy and political action, The Man Who Understood Democracy offers the richest, most nuanced portrait yet of a man who, born between the worlds of aristocracy and democracy, fought tirelessly for the only system that he believed could provide both liberty and equality.

The Man Who Understood Democracy Bewertungen

A self-recommending biography of one of the greatest social science thinkers. Easy to read, and good for both the generalist and specialist reader.---Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
This biography gives us, often with just a few telling strokes, [Tocqueville's] incandescently intense life's work as a politician and intellectual---Jedediah Britton-Purdy, New Republic
An exhaustively researched biography of the Frenchman . . . [who] sought in essence to answer this question: Would the work of cultivating equality destroy liberty?---Barton Swain, Wall Street Journal
An informative biography of Tocqueville, whose understanding of liberty and equality has remained immensely influential for almost 200 years. Zunz explains what Tocqueville learned-and what he failed to notice-during his travels throughout the United States [and] provides a splendid account of Tocqueville's career as a practical politician in France.---Glenn C. Altschuler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Olivier Zunz's The Man Who Understood Democracy is an excellent biography of this major figure of political philosophy. It is well-written and judicious in its use of detail.---Theodore Dalrymple, Law & Liberty
Wide-ranging and meticulously argued, this is a noteworthy contribution to Tocqueville studies. * Publishers Weekly *
A wide-ranging study of the life and thought of the French aristocrat who, looking in from the outside, taught Americans about the political system that guided them. ... Those who worry about clear and present dangers to democracy will find much grist in this astute biography. * Kirkus Reviews *

Über Olivier Zunz

Olivier Zunz is the James Madison Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author, most recently, of Philanthropy in America: A History (Princeton). He is the editor of the Library of America edition of Democracy in America, Tocqueville's Recollections, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont in America, and The Tocqueville Reader. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville Olivier Zunz
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