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Democracy and Its Critics [Paperback]

Robert A. Dahl
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 24 1991
In this book, one of the most prominent political theorists of our era makes a statement about what democracy is and why it is important. Robert Dahl examines the most basic assumptions of democratic theory, tests them against the questions raised by its critics, and recasts the theory of democracy in a new and coherent whole. He concludes by discussing the directions in which democracy must move if advanced democratic states are to exist in the future.

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From Library Journal

Dahl defends democracy against various criticisms, including anarchism and its tenet that even democracy is coercive; the normative view that democracy is less desirable than elite rule; and the empirical claim that democracy is impossible due to an inevitable existence of an elite. Dahl argues that a widespread distribution of wealth is necessary for meaningful political democracy, an idea he discussed more fully in A Preface to Economic Democracy ( LJ 9/1/85). He also suggests how political institutions can prevent control by elites by incorporating groups of randomly selected citizens into the system. Dahl is well-known in political science for his major contributions to democratic theory; although this book contains material revised from earlier works, it is a necessary purchase for graduate libraries and recommended for undergraduate and public libraries.
- David Steiniche, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine update on themes introduced in Polyarchy Dec 3 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a highly readable summary of Dahl's earlier work. Non-academics will find his use of dialogue easily accessible. Perhaps it's greatest success is the way that it thoughtfully approaches the basic premises of democracy, foundational principles all too-often glossed over in democratic literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book on democratic theory Sept. 21 2000
Format:Paperback
This is an excelent book on political theory and also one of the best defenses of democracy as a political system I have ever read. Specially good it its chapter on "guardinship", contradicting the most common arguments in favor of different "tutors" of the people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dahl is great Jan. 17 1998
Format:Paperback
Dahl created a bunch of dialogues that clearly illustrate specific problems with anarchism and elitism. Then, he discussed democracy and his hopes for the future. He's a fine writer and thinker who deserves more attention from non-academics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine update on themes introduced in Polyarchy Dec 3 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a highly readable summary of Dahl's earlier work. Non-academics will find his use of dialogue easily accessible. Perhaps it's greatest success is the way that it thoughtfully approaches the basic premises of democracy, foundational principles all too-often glossed over in democratic literature.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dahl is great Jan. 17 1998
By "qironzh" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Dahl created a bunch of dialogues that clearly illustrate specific problems with anarchism and elitism. Then, he discussed democracy and his hopes for the future. He's a fine writer and thinker who deserves more attention from non-academics.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dahl is the man Oct. 17 2013
By Jonathan D. Bradley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Simply one of the best books I have read while in grad school. Dahl is a rock star. It may be the first Political Science text I have read that I consider a page turner.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book on democratic theory Sept. 21 2000
By Jorge Navarrete - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excelent book on political theory and also one of the best defenses of democracy as a political system I have ever read. Specially good it its chapter on "guardinship", contradicting the most common arguments in favor of different "tutors" of the people.
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