Paperback edition out 29 April 2010
Front cover copy:
‘A gargantuan feat of erudition’ John Kampfner, Guardian
Back cover copy:
‘A magnificent work putting into context modern-day shifts in democracy and the threats posed to its fragile existence’ The Times
John Keane’s The Life and Death of Democracy will inspire and shock its readers. Presenting the first grand history of democracy for well over a century, it poses along the way some tough and timely questions: can we really be sure that democracy had its origins in ancient Greece? How did democratic ideals and institutions come to have the shape they do today? Given all the recent fanfare about democracy promotion, why are many people now gripped by the feeling that a bad moon is rising over all the world’s democracies? Do they indeed have a future? Or is perhaps democracy fated to melt away, along with out polar ice caps?
The work of one of Britain’s leading political writers, a man whose work on democracy is of ‘world-wide importance’ (The Times), this is no mere antiquarian history. The Life and Death of Democracy confronts its readers with an entirely fresh and irreverent look at the past, present and future of democracy.
‘Highly impressive … an awesome scholarly feat’ Dominick Sandbrook, Sunday Times (read review here)
‘[A] monumental new history … a remarkable book’ Observer (read review here)
‘What a difference a book can make … The width and depth of Keane’s erudition are stunning’ David Aaronovitch, The Times (read full review here)
In Arabic: نبذة عن الكتاب click here (pdf here)
In Finnish: Tietoa teoksesta here
In French: Sur le livre here
In Greek: Για το Βιβλίο here
In Italian: Sinossi del libro clicca qui
In Norwegian: Om denne boken here
In Portuguese: Sobre este livro here
In Spanish: Sobre el libro here
Advance quotes: ‘The Life and Death of Democracy is an unusual and extraordinary magnum opus by a notable scholar and author. It is unusual in tracing the history not just of ideas but of democratic institutions, and extraordinary in its range. John Keane’s work brings to life the story of democratic decision-making, representation and monitoring of power from Athens to Westminster and Washington. It is a masterpiece of historical writing and at the same time a major contribution to contemporary debate. This book will have a long and influential life.’
Ralf Dahrendorf, KBE, former Parliamentary Secretary of State in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commissioner in the European Commission in Brussels
More quotes here
Comments on the cover by its designer Jem Butcher
'Initially I had 'The Life and Death of' bit and 'John Keane' running at right angles to 'Democracy' . Unfortunately it tended to read, "the Life and Death of John Keane". But the biggest problem was always how to illustrate the very involved, complex issue of 'Democracy' spanning a time frame from ancient Greece to the present day. The X 'marked the spot' so to say, and was no doubt only accepted by the publisher due to commercial success of books such as Jon Gray's ground breaking 'Everything is Illuminated'. Yes the bleed was important, getting the balance right between cropping too tight on it so that the viewer couldn't make it out as a cross, or no bleed, which looked far too obvious and consequently not sophisticated enough. The text being executed in the 'brush style' becomes an integral part of the design, as though someone had 'knocked-up' a protest banner the morning of a march.'
(click on the cover to enlarge the picture)