Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Luciano Canfora, Simon Jones, Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology (Making of Europe)

Luciano Canfora, Simon Jones, Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology (Making of Europe)

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This history traces the development of democracy in Europe from its origins in ancient Greece up to the present day.The book opens with the birth of democracy in ancient Greece, and outlines the adoption and adaptation of Greek political ideas by French revolutionaries and intellectuals to suit their own ends. The author then goes on to consider all the major watersheds in the development of democracy in modern Europe: the twenty-year crisis from 1789 to 1815, when the repercussions of revolution in France were felt across the continent; the explosion of democratic movements between 1830 and 1848; the hijacking of democratic processes by Napoleon III, and the débâcle of the Paris Commune. Canfora traces how the spread of Marxist ideas in east and west Europe, the Russian revolution, and the rise of fascism led to a "European civil war" lasting from 1914 until 1945.In conclusion, the book demonstrates how in the recent past democracy itself, far from making progress, has in fact become more limited and oligarchic, as indeed it was at the outset, 2,500 years ago.

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