In How Democracies Die, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt analyze failed democracies of 1930s Europe and contemporary Latin America, as well as times when the United States’ democracy seemed at stake. From their analyses, the authors find four behaviors that are common among leaders who have led their countries from democracy to authoritarianism. Several examples of these four behaviors are given. Levitsky and Ziblatt are careful to note that not all leaders who have displayed these behaviors become authoritarians.
Drawing on those four behaviors, the authors then explain why they believe democracy in the United States is currently at stake. They propose strategies which will make our democracy stronger. These strategies are also based on examples found in history. Not surprisingly, Levitsky and Ziblatt state that following through with these propositions is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it can be done with the commitment and dedication of politicians and citizens.
How Democracies Die is an informative read that encourages questioning and critical thinking. Could my country’s democracy really be at stake? How can we get politicians and citizens to become less polarized? Readers should find at least some answers in this book. The book did feel a bit repetitive at times, but I understand that certain points had to be emphasized. Nevertheless, this was a concise read that was easy to follow. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good book on politics, without all the fancy terminology.