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November 26 , 2007

The Life and Death of Democracy


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 our polar ice caps?
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And the beast {Anti-Christ} had power to give life unto the image of the beast {anti- Christ which was wounded} that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as would not worship the image of the Anti-Christ to be killed, and he cause all both small and great, rich, And poor, bond, and free, to receive a mark in the right hand…

The work of one of Britain's leading political writers, this is no mere antiquarian history. Stylishly written, this superb book confronts its readers with an entirely fresh and irreverent look at the past, present and future of democracy. It unearths the beginnings of such precious institutions and ideals as government by public assembly, votes for women, the secret ballot, trial by jury and press freedom. It tracks the changing, hotly disputed meanings of democracy and describes quite a few of the extraordinary characters, many of them long forgotten, who dedicated their lives to building or defending democracy. And it explains why democracy is still potentially the best form of government on earth – and why democracies everywhere are sleepwalking their way into deep trouble.
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