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Publisher's Summary

The world is in turmoil. From India to Turkey and from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, Yascha Mounk shows, democracy itself may now be at risk.

Two core components of liberal democracy - individual rights and the popular will - are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.”

The consequence, Mounk shows in The People vs. Democracy, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few.

The People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy.

©2018 Yascha Mounk (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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a must read in the new age of political populism

excellent read, super relevant. research based. narration was decent, not great. audio quality was not superb. Yascha Mounk is a treasure. his podcast "the good fight" expands on many of the points touched on in The People vs. Democracy. this should be required reading for all lovers of liberty.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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People Vs Democracy or democracy Vs people?

The explanation of this book is valid for the Western world, and US, in term of why our democracy is on the downfall, and is transforming to semi democracy or democracy without rights, or non liberal democracy as terms, one model is cleared that, if you want to rule or conquer people, make them fears (financial, immigration threat, income instability) and blame it on your opponents, enhancing with fake news in social platforms and that will bring about justification to all the changes populist authoritarian desired, even reverse backward to un-democratic ways of life, but on the contrary, for other under development countries, due to the context is quite different, as most of them, crying for democracy and elected government, but the elite or wealthy families 1% or less, take all 99 % of wealth of the country, that would not want democracy to mature, military coup every 4 years, due to the facts that resources will be re-distributed to the unfortunate and the poor that the elected government promised to delivery to them! That is one aspects may need to cover more on this book, to be completed in all scenarios !

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Not worth it

I am sorry, but at least three times I wished I could get my money back. A political bashing book without any in depth knowledge. Only the writers personal political beliefs, with less interest than watching 10 hours of MSNBC. Of little academic value. Pass. one star because of conclusion was ok.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Lawrence McKay
  • 07-12-18

Well-argued, readable book with some overclaiming

A topical and well-researched book with a strong central thesis and stirring defence of liberal democracy. I thought he brought a lot of impressive data to the table, although readers should note that some of the core findings, especially re: millennials turning away from democracy, have been questioned. I liked that it discussed populism/authoritarianism as a global phenomenon and looked at a variety of countries such as South Korea and Poland. But there were some sections that were a touch weak, to my mind. Mounk goes against almost the entirety of the literature on Trump's election to date to argue the fault is equally shared between 'nativism' and economic factors - but brings very little in the way of compelling evidence in support of this. Overall, the book is well-worth reading - even if it sometimes over-states its case. It's contributing to some important conversations. But I would suggest reading some of the criticism of the book and also listening to the Ezra Klein podcasts where he grills Mounk about some of the arguments.