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.
Posts from the ‘Books’ Category
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.
My 2013 book “The End of Protest” is discussed in an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about post-election protests. Read the article.
Early reviews for Four Crises of American Democracy, from the Oxford University Press website:
“Already among our foremost observers of global capitalism, economic policymaking, and the information age, Alasdair Roberts in his latest book expertly details four periods of crisis of American democracy across the past hundred-plus years. The reassuring news: the parlous state of our current national politics has ample historical precedent-and the republic survives. The better news: each crisis period contained the seeds of democratic renewal, providing genuine hope for our own future. Roberts’s clarion voice is one that deserves a full hearing from U.S. officialdom and citizenry alike.”- Rogan Kersh, Provost and Professor of Politics & International Affairs, Wake Forest University
“In this sharp and insightful analysis, Roberts takes dead aim at a central puzzle of our time: is American democracy so sick that it risks sliding deeply into chaos, even oblivion? The book takes measured stock of the challenges democracy faces. But even more important, Roberts finds that democracy has faced big crises before and has found within itself what it takes to conquer them. The result is an exceptionally clear-eyed look at the issues we face and how we can solve them. It’s must reading-especially for those trapped in despair about our system of government.”-Donald F. Kettl, Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland
In the current issue of New Left Review, Malcolm Bull discusses my 2013 book, The End of Protest. Go to the article. Bull writes: “There have been places, notably neo-liberal core countries like the USA and UK, where political protests have been small, sporadic and ineffectual. . . . In The End of Protest, Alasdair Roberts attributes this change to the growing intolerance of public unrest in market societies, and the effectiveness of policies of repression (legal changes with strengthened police forces to enforce them) and containment (the manipulation of urban space, enhanced surveillance and kettling), combined with economic appeasement (fiscal stimulus and quantitative easing) carried out by technocrats at central banks rather than the government itself. The result has been the atrophy of traditional forms of mass organization and the failure of new forms of networked protest to take their place.” The End of Protest will be available in paperback from Cornell University Press in November.
My 2008 book The Collapse of Fortress Bush, published by New York University Press, is now available on Kindle. Details here. Kirkus Reviews called the book “A trenchant analysis of the last eight years of American political history. . . . A work of rare insight that fills gaps glaringly evident in most public discourse.” Choice said: “Roberts’ sound judgment and expertise in the field of public administration make this an excellent primer on governance in the Bush years.”