• Ill Winds

  • Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency
  • By: Larry Diamond
  • Narrated by: Larry Diamond
  • Length: 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2020 Arthur Ross Book Award

From America’s leading scholar of democracy, a personal, passionate call to action against the rising authoritarianism that challenges our world order - and the very value of liberty.

Larry Diamond has made it his life's work to secure democracy's future by understanding its past and by advising dissidents fighting autocracy around the world. Deeply attuned to the cycles of democratic expansion and decay that determine the fates of nations, he watched with mounting unease as illiberal rulers rose in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, the Philippines, and beyond, while China and Russia grew increasingly bold and bullying. Then, with Trump's election at home, the global retreat from freedom spread from democracy's margins to its heart. 

Ill Winds' core argument is stark: the defense and advancement of democratic ideals relies on US global leadership. If we do not reclaim our traditional place as the keystone of democracy, today's authoritarian swell could become a tsunami, providing an opening for Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and their admirers to turn the 21st century into a dark time of despotism. 

We are at a hinge in history, between a new era of tyranny and an age of democratic renewal. Free governments can defend their values; free citizens can exercise their rights. We can make the internet safe for liberal democracy, exploit the soft, kleptocratic underbelly of dictatorships, and revive America's degraded democracy. Ill Winds offers concrete, deeply informed suggestions to fight polarization, reduce the influence of money in politics, and make every vote count. 

In 2019, freedom's last line of defense still remains "We the people". 

©2019 Larry Diamond (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Diamond] has spent 40 years circumnavigating the globe promoting democracy in Nigeria, Venezuela and some 70 other countries. Yet today he is aghast.... In his impassioned book Ill Winds, he proves a stalwart, persuasive champion for democracy at a moment when its reputation has been fouled by Britain mauling itself with Brexit and by the United States electing someone as morally, intellectually and literally bankrupt as Donald Trump.” (Gary J. Bass, New York Times Book Review

“The question he poses is how to prevent the world’s democratic recession from turning into outright depression.... Diamond’s solution is for the US to launch a concerted - though not warlike - promotion of global democracy. His case is well made.” (Financial Times

 
 “Diamond succeeds in making a compelling case that the global assault on democracy is the single most important trend driving global events today.... Diamond’s entire book should be read as a clarion call that we have reached a critical moment where the price of inaction will render democratic government not only ineffective, but increasingly defenseless.” (Foreign Policy

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The Most Important Book of the Ers

Larry Diamond is sometimes described as the world’s foremost authority on democracy. And in an era in which democracy is threatened the world over, and where the fate of democracy is intimately linked to the fate of the earth, this is arguably the most important book of the era. I say this as someone who reads and listens to about 100-150 non-fiction books a year and has done so for the past 15-20 years. This book is not flashy or brilliant. But it gets straight to the heart of what is driving the rise of authoritarian nationalism and the threat it poses to democracy. And it is overflowing with ideas about what to do about it. Listen to it if you care about the future of your country and the planet, and share it with your friends. It will frighten you to death and then inspire you with what is possible.

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strong political bias

I honestly had hoped for objective information sharing. This book has a very strong bias. To his credit, the author presents his summary of relevant historical data to support his conclusions. I kind of feel like I was being given a sales pitch, not an unbiased presentation of information and possibilities... maybe that's just me...




1 person found this helpful