The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World by Larry Diamond charts future of freedom after Iraq

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Stanford
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St. Martin's Griffin
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In The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World, Hoover senior fellow Larry Diamond, one of America’s preeminent experts on democracy, charts the future prospects for freedom around the world in the aftermath of Iraq and deepening authoritarianism.

During three decades, the world has been transformed. In 1974, nearly three-quarters of all countries were dictatorships; today, more than half are democracies. Yet recent efforts to promote democracy have stumbled, and many democratic governments are faltering.

In this bold and sweeping vision for advancing freedom around the world, social scientist Diamond examines how and why democracy progresses. He demonstrates that the desire for democracy runs deep, even in very poor countries, and that seemingly entrenched regimes such as Iran and China could become democracies within a generation. He also dissects the causes of the “democratic recession” in critical states, including the crime-infested oligarchy in Russia and the strong-armed populism of Venezuela.

Diamond cautions that arrogance and inconsistency have undermined America’s aspirations to promote democracy. To spur a renewed democratic boom, he urges vigorous support of good governance—the rule of law, security, protection of individual rights, and shared economic prosperity—and free civic organizations. Only then will the spirit of democracy be secured.

Comments on the book, published by Henry Holt/Times Books, include

“Larry Diamond, one of the most preeminent students of democracy today, explains why this system of government remains an achievable goal for most countries around the world, despite recent setbacks in places like Russia and Venezuela. The Spirit of Democracy is a worthwhile corrective to America's post-Iraq pessimism about the future of democratic ideals throughout the world.”—Francis Fukuyama, author of America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy

“No one has thought harder or more broadly about the past and future of democracy than Larry Diamond. A passionate treatment, infused with optimism and eminently readable, The Spirit of Democracy is a must for anyone who cares about the toughest challenge of balancing national values and national interests.”—Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“Around the world, the movement for democracy is in trouble—not merely because of the shrewdness of its enemies, but because of the ignorance and self-delusion of its friends. Luckily, Larry Diamond offers a path forward, full of his customary wisdom, tough-mindedness, and passion. With friends like him, the spirit of democracy will rise again.”—Peter Beinart, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Good Fight

Larry Diamond is the author of Squandered Victory (0-8050-8008-2) and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has served as the coeditor of the widely respected Journal of Democracy since its founding in 1990. From January to April 2004, he served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. He lives in Stanford, California.

The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World
Henry Holt and Co./ Times Books
ISBN: 0-8050-7869-X $28.00 cloth
464 pages January, 2008