Comments on Can Government Do Anything Right?, forthcoming from Polity Books in January 2018:
“This contrarian work is a welcome corrective to the doom and gloom commentary that is so common today. Not only that, it’s a good read as well. It will get an intensive workout in college seminars.” — Morris P. Fiorina, Stanford University
“Governing, particularly in democracies, is difficult and often frustrating work. In this vital new book, Alasdair Roberts explains why by identifying the multiple constraints imposed on political leaders. More importantly, he makes a convincing case that, over time, Western governments have successfully adapted to these constraints and have been largely effective at addressing the challenges they face. At a time when so many citizens are disenchanted with their governments, the argument in this book deserves a wide audience.” — Stephen K. Medvic, Franklin & Marshall College
“In a world dominated by narratives of democratic crisis and decline Alasdair Roberts reveals the innate complexities of modern governance and political statecraft. In a book that is as clear and accessible as it is intellectually thoughtful and provocative, Roberts offers a positive and optimistic account of contemporary politics. It offers an energising breadth of fresh air in what is otherwise a fairly gloomy scholarly space.” — Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield, President of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom.
The draft preface for my book Statecrafting: A New Approach to Public Administration can be read here. The book is under contract with Cornell University Press.
I talked about Four Crises of American Democracy with John Fugelsang on his SiriusXM Insight show, Tell Me Everything, on March 23. Listen to the interview here. Fugelsang says: “The political climate in the 2016 presidential election has only reinforced the perception that we are in a state of crisis. Roberts’ new book is amazing in how well it distills and explains the root causes of the crises facing our democracy and how they might be addressed. It is informative and also compulsively readable.”
I talked about Four Crises of American Democracy with Mitch Jeserich, host of KPFA’s Letters and Politics, on March 13. Listen to the interview here.
On a World Bank blog, Sina Odugbemi discusses Four Crises of American Democracy. Odugbemi says that the book “furnishes us with a way of thinking about what might be wrong with liberal democracy in any specific national context that is as elegant and as thought-provoking as anything that I have encountered recently.” Read the review.
Michael Spicer writes a review of Four Crises of American Democracy, in Public Administration Review: “Roberts’ thoughtful and elegant defense of democracy is to be welcomed, coming as it does at a time when serious doubts about the capacity of ordinary democratic politics and institutions to address our problems are being voiced, both on the right and left of our political spectrum. It is also a healthy reminder to critics of our system of all ideological hues that the real world alternatives to democratic politics and institutions are not necessarily likely to serve us much better. Moreover, packing as it does a wide range of modern history into less than 200 pages of text, it is a refreshingly accessible read and a much-needed reminder both to social scientists and citizens in general about the importance of paying attention to history and what it can teach us about democracy.” The review is available here.
Michael Orthofer reviews Four Crises of American Democracy for The Complete Review: “Roberts’ overview of American democracy and how it has adapted and changed over the years is both very enjoyable and thought-provoking. . . . Roberts’ book is a reminder both of the enduring (though not unassailable) stability of democracy, and the more basic issues always surrounding it.” Read the review.
I enjoyed talking about Four Crises of American Democracy at the Truman Library in Independence MO yesterday. Slides from the talk here. Thanks to the Library staff for their hospitality!
I will talk about my book, Four Crises of American Democracy, at the Truman Library Institute in Independence, MO on February 9 at 6:30pm. More details here.
The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent has just been published in paperback by Cornell University Press. Purchase on Amazon. The cover design is by Istvan Banyai.