Saturday, December 11, 2010

Democracy Denied by Charles Kurzman: my review appears

I just recently received my contributor's copy of the Journal of World History, vol. 21, no. 3 (September, 2010).  It is a special issue of the journal devoted to articles on cosmopolitanism. 

My contribution is a review of an excellent 2008 book by Charles Kurzman, Democracy Denied, 1905-15:  Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy.   Here's an excerpt.

Kurzman contends that the six revolutions he examines can be seen as part of a global movement with local variations, rather than phenomena strictly tied to local conditions and problems.

The revolutions in question (in Russia, Iran, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Mexico, and China) all began  between 1905 and 1911; all were consciously democratic in their aspirations, at least insofar as democracy was understood at the time; all succeeded in obtaining effective parliamentary elections; and all the revolutionary regimes, except Portugal's, had failed before World War I broke out. Yet, as Kurzman says, even though more than a quarter of the world’s population was affected by this wave of democratic revolution, it has seldom been treated as an international event.

You can read the review in the Journal, or just go straight to the book.

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