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Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America Jeremy Jennings

Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America By Jeremy Jennings

Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America by Jeremy Jennings

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Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote about democracy in America, but he also lauded Catholic society in Quebec, feared the nationalism he saw in Germany, and controversially defended French colonization of Algeria. Jeremy Jennings traces Tocqueville's lesser-known travels, recovering the wider insights of one of history's great political thinkers.

Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America Summary

Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America by Jeremy Jennings

A revelatory intellectual biography of Tocqueville, told through his wide-ranging travels-most of them, aside from his journey to America, barely known.

It might be the most famous journey in the history of political thought: in 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville sailed from France to the United States, spent nine months touring and observing the political culture of the fledgling republic, and produced the classic Democracy in America.

But the United States was just one of the many places documented by the inveterate traveler. Jeremy Jennings follows Tocqueville's voyages-by sailing ship, stagecoach, horseback, train, and foot-across Europe, North Africa, and of course North America. Along the way, Jennings reveals underappreciated aspects of Tocqueville's character and sheds new light on the depth and range of his political and cultural commentary.

Despite recurrent ill health and ever-growing political responsibilities, Tocqueville never stopped moving or learning. He wanted to understand what made political communities tick, what elite and popular mores they rested on, and how they were adjusting to rapid social and economic change-the rise of democracy and the Industrial Revolution, to be sure, but also the expansion of empire and the emergence of socialism. He lauded the orderly, Catholic-dominated society of Quebec; presciently diagnosed the boisterous but dangerously chauvinistic politics of Germany; considered England the freest and most unequal place on Earth; deplored the poverty he saw in Ireland; and championed French colonial settlement in Algeria.

Drawing on correspondence, published writings, speeches, and the recollections of contemporaries, Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America is a panoramic combination of biography, history, and political theory that fully reflects the complex, restless mind at its center.

Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America Reviews

A superb study of the distinctive character of Tocqueville's mind. Few scholars are as well equipped as Jennings to offer such penetrating insights into the origins of Tocqueville's comparative method of political analysis. -- Arthur Goldhammer, translator of Tocqueville's Democracy in America and The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution
This is intellectual biography at its best. Following Tocqueville on his many travels, and drawing extensively on his letters and journals, Jennings offers an erudite and riveting new portrait of the great liberal thinker whose influence is still keenly felt on both sides of the Atlantic. -- Ruth Scurr, author of Napoleon: A Life Told in Gardens and Shadows
Guiding us along Tocqueville's paths through North America, Europe, and North Africa, Jennings deftly analyzes his abundant and meticulous notes on each place that he visited. At every turn, this book considerably enriches our understanding of Tocqueville's democracy as inherently comparative. -- Olivier Zunz, author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville
This is what many of us have waited for: a readable and engaging account of Tocqueville's myriad travels and their impact on his intellectual development. Written by one of the leading experts on French political thought, it is at once impeccably researched, insightful, and thought-provoking. In short, a brilliant book. -- Helena Rosenblatt, author of The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century

About Jeremy Jennings

Jeremy Jennings is Professor of Political Theory at King's College London. He is the author of Revolution and the Republic: A History of Political Thought in France since the Eighteenth Century and coeditor of The Cambridge History of French Thought.

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Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America by Jeremy Jennings
Harvard University Press
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