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Empire of Democracy

Empire of Democracy

‘A dense narrative and a wealth of examples’ Literary Review




Reid-Henry narrates this story with elegance and gusto’ Washington Post


‘[Reid-Henry] conveys an important message: Individual political action must become accountable to society’s interests’ Kirkus



‘Reid-Henry’s scholarship is impressive, gathering a wide range of historical anecdotes and referencing a diverse set of thinkers’ Publishers Weekly



‘the most valuable political education and history lesson you receive in 2019’ Irish Independent


The first panoramic history of the Western world from the 1970s to the present day: Empire of Democracy is the story for those asking how we got to where we are.

Half a century ago, at the height of the Cold War and amidst a world economic crisis, the Western democracies were forced to undergo a profound transformation. Against what some saw as a full-scale “crisis of democracy” – with race riots, anti-Vietnam marches and a wave of worker discontent sowing crisis from one nation to the next – a new political-economic order was devised and the postwar social contract was torn up and written anew.


In this epic narrative of the events that have shaped our own times, Simon Reid-Henry shows how liberal democracy, and Western history with it, was profoundly re-imagined when the postwar Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl.


The late twentieth-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War and into the economic boom of the 1990s. But equally it led them into the fiasco of Iraq, to the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8, and ultimately to the anti-liberal surge of our own times.


The present crisis of liberalism enjoins us to revisit these as yet unscripted decades. The era we have all been living through is closing out, democracy is turning on its axis once again. As this panoramic history poignantly reminds us, the choices we make going forward require us first to come to terms with where we have been.
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Genre: Humanities / History / General & World History

On Sale: 27th June 2019

Price: £30

ISBN-13: 9781473670587

Reviews

A lucid, pulsating study . . . skilfully drawn
Economist
A monumental and nuanced history of the past half-century
Irish Times
Praise for Fidel and Che
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Gripping . . . deeply impressive . . . rigorously sourced
Independent
As exciting and readable as a Cold War thriller
The Times
Absorbing
Sunday Times
Reid-Henry makes the case for seeing our recent past as a distinct period, as well as showing that this era is drawing to a close. He does this convincingly, stylishly and with verve. This is as good a general account as we have of democracy's dysfunctions and discontents over the last 50 years, and a significant improvement on most of the books published recently on our current disorders... in this fine book he has at least provided some starting points for thinking about what we need to do next to overcomes the morbid systems of our age and build something new.
Irish Examiner
Brilliantly, Reid-Henry calls for the salvation of democracy from the choices of its own leaders - if it is to survive
Samuel Moyn, Yale University
[Empire of Democracy] yields insights that help us understand our present and imagine the possibilities of our future... The frontiers of the future can sometimes be discerned by studying the plains of our past. This book allows the reader to do both.
Sunday Business Post Ireland
Simon Reid-Henry has written a superbly informed and riveting historical analysis of our contemporary era, which opened in the 1970s and, as he brilliantly demonstrates, continues to transform the premises of Western democracies
Charles S. Maier, Harvard University