cover image Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Condoleezza Rice. Twelve, $35 (496p) ISBN 978-1-4555-4018-1

Between her academic background in political science and her experience as national security advisor and secretary of state for George W. Bush, Rice could be expected to provide unique insights into the challenges currently facing democracy worldwide. Instead, she blandly avers that “the overall trajectory is worth celebrating,” despite her own description of Russia as a “failed democratic experiment.” Rice also opines that “dashed expectations that democracy’s march would be linear” account, at least in part, for fears that democratic governments are actively on the decline. Beyond such unilluminating statements, Rice traces the history of democracy across the modern world, relating familiar facts about the U.S., Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She also cannot resist blaming the Obama administration for depriving Iraq of a better future by deciding to pull American troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011, pursuant to an agreement with the Iraqi government that she had been party to. Rice’s post-Trump election epilogue is equally unsatisfying—she states that it is “stunning” that mature democracies like the U.S. have been affected by the global rise in populism, nativism, and isolationism, but concludes that it is too early to know whether the international order in place since the end of WWII will survive. [em](May) [/em]