Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bibliography of the month

No promises that this will be a regular feature, but...

I just got an inquiry from Western Australia about what one should read to get a grip on the history and principles of democracy. The request came from somebody who had already visited my World History of Democracy website and was basically asking, what's the very best, among books you've read, to get started?

The person who mailed me had put a finger on one very good book: Robert Dahl's Democracy and its Critics from 1989. Another is John Markoff's Waves of democracy : social movements and political change from 1996, which may be the best history of democracy as a world-wide phenomenon that exists (other nominations welcome).

Which leads me to the "bibliography of the month." Markoff, a sociologist from the University of Pittsburgh, is one really smart man. He's also very productive. An on his university web site, included in his CV, is a pretty extensive bibliography that I recommend to anyone interested in some real perspective on democracy.

The picture? A page in Arabic from a random bibliography on the web concerning Leo Africanus, a Spanish/Moroccan adventurer of the 16th century. More on him here.


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