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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,323 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alexis de Tocqueville Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781400188116
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In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat and civil servant, made a nine-month journey through eastern America. The result was Democracy in America, a monumental study of the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s evolving politics. Tocqueville looked to the flourishing democratic system in America as a possible model for post-revolutionary France, believing its egalitarian ideals reflected the spirit of the age—even that they were the will of God. His insightful work has become one of the most influential political texts ever written on America and an indispensable authority for anyone interested in the future of democracy.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 2/20/2014

    " Another wonderful political philosphy book. I have read parts of this over the years but I just decided to read the whole thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana madden | 2/17/2014

    " When my daughter was a high school senior she joined a competitive civics class (not kidding) and all the discussion of the nature and history of US government systems and principles turned my thoughts to this classic that I'd been meaning to get to for, a long time. So many of his observations about the character of US citizens just after the republic formed still holds today, its a time capsule and a fount of insight into our collective mindset, seen clearly by an outsider who had survived a governmental upheaval of a very different sort in his native France prior to his travels on this continent. A classic worthy of the label. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gray Natasha | 2/16/2014

    " Long book with a lot to think about. This is not an easy read, but it is thought provoking. Yes, Tocqueville did not see everything, but who can? I found his comparisons of the US, where much decision making was local, and France, which was centralized, fascinating, given the continued debate over local v. state v. federal control on so many issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 2/15/2014

    " I only read Vol 1 of this book for class. What I read was quite profound and for Tocqueville only being in his mid 20s when he wrote this; it is quite impressive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don Weidinger | 2/8/2014

    " : a concise accounting of who we are, from the 1830's and perhaps very true today. Do this book every few months, particularly given the current climate...if we do not learn from history we may be doomed to repeat it... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Qing Wang | 2/6/2014

    " Enlightening to see the American democracy from a French aristocrat's perspective after the revolution. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 2/2/2014

    " Alexis de Tocqueville looks at America from an outside perspective. He examines the greatness of our Founding Fathers, our Constitution or as de Tocquiville calls it "our matchless Constitution", and the source of America's greatness. To quote de Tocquiville, "America is great because America is good. If she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 2/1/2014

    " I recommend this book to EVERY Patriot and student of American history, it gives insight to the first generation of Americans born under the Constitution by a foreign impartial observer. Really shows the results of "the Spirit of 1776." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Gubler | 1/31/2014

    " Magnificent historically significant work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenneth Grech | 1/26/2014

    " Tough read...but absolutely necessary if you want to understand the founding principles of the United States. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirt | 1/25/2014

    " Perceptive, thought-provoking discussion of democracy in general and America as a peculiar instance. I listened to this book while driving, but it really deserves a hard-copy read, highlighter in hand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marks54 | 1/25/2014

    " This is a filling in of a book I read in the fall of 1989. It is a long volume, so to motivate myself to read this classic, I enrolled in a continuing studies great books program, so that there was a structured discussion to force a paced reading. This is a terrific book and of continuing relevance today. I think Tocqueville is much richer than the many uses to which it is put by pundits and it would be highly counterproductive to attempt a summarize. Reading this in conjunction with a biography of Tocqueville would also be worthwhile. Epstein has an excellkent short bio, and there are longer ones - that remain on my "to do" list. This is a book that one continually refers back to, similar to Thucycides. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 1/24/2014

    " It took me awhile to get through it, but this book has plenty of food for thought. I recommend taking it at a very slow pace so you can really digest it. First, I loved how de Tocqueville went into considerable depth about the profundity of the Constitution and why it is such a brilliant conception. I was able to appreciate it more because of distinct reasons on which he chooses to expound. His comparison between Native Americans and blacks intrigued me a great deal, and then there was a very interesting section on commerce. He compares Americans with the Brits and then the North with the South. The stats he produced were fascinating, because he basically proves how slothful a people is ("people" is singular in this book) that engages in slavery. Although the South had a greater population and a larger amount of land, their productivity and exports totaled quite a bit less than the North's. They weren't engaged in any kind of work, but just sat around while their slaves did it all. This observation of his really resonated with me. Another very interesting argument he makes is that religious adherence (of whatever kind) counterbalances the bad effects that democracy would normally bring about. This is rather notable, considering that afterward he observes that Americans have little/no use for theoretical science (philosophy), but really prefer the practical sciences...and yet, we found a need for religion - or did at the time. Not sure where we're headed now. My favorite parts were probably where he talks about women of the time - particularly those who gave up lives of leisure and went with their husbands out West. He refers to women as the guardians of morality a few times and spends a bit of time on American women in general. I loved these parts of the book. Finally, the appendices had some of the most interesting information - just random tidbits here and there. I liked the bit about the dialects of Native Americans and how similar and efficient they are. The book ends with a reproduction of the Constitution in full, accompanied by the Bill of Rights. It's very comprehensive, which helps make it great and makes it exhausting. This is ONE HEFTY READ, and I am glad to be finished at long last! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Gubler | 1/23/2014

    " Magnificent historically significant work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thalia | 1/23/2014

    " A political, historical and philosophical milestone. And never boring despite being a rather dry subject usually. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drew Dickson | 1/21/2014

    " No one actually reads this book for fun, but it is awesome. If you want to understand American society, government and politics, you must read Democracy in America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caylin | 1/18/2014

    " I have not read it in its entirety, however, all that i have read i have enjoyed and in general i like tocqueville's thinking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Douglas | 1/18/2014

    " A must-read for every American. Here you will learn the important phrase "tyranny of the majority." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob Johnston | 1/17/2014

    " Worth reading for historical value, wouldn't exactly call it light/entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 1/1/2014

    " I only read Vol 1 of this book for class. What I read was quite profound and for Tocqueville only being in his mid 20s when he wrote this; it is quite impressive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 12/5/2013

    " SJCA Politics and Society "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Chick | 12/1/2013

    " One of the all time greatest books on America, but filled with observations that are pertinent to societies everywhere. My words do not do this masterwork justice. Read the unabridged version. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kazmo | 11/23/2013

    " Interesting to live during the time when de Tocqueville's predictions come to pass. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie | 11/5/2013

    " It explains so much regarding the little details of why America is the way it is today. It is my bible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ki | 10/21/2013

    " Lovely analysis of what happens to Americains as they embrace their new life. Old style writing, but well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 10/20/2013

    " You know you're an absolute nerd if you buy Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" with the rationalization of, "I deserve it!" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scialone | 10/18/2013

    " Not particularly a page-turner, but really amazing how insightful de Tocqueville was! I'm glad I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drennan | 10/16/2013

    " Not done reading this but I love what I've read so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rodrigo Jimenez | 9/27/2013

    " This book is so much more than a chronicle of the US during its origins. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Albert Derbes | 9/18/2013

    " Essential reading because it is essentially a source document. However, a slow task to finish. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nickie | 5/10/2013

    " The problem is that you hear all his best quotes and then think the book must have more. Not really. But I did it all the same and still need to talk more about it and formulate clearer understanding. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stoney_maroney | 5/7/2013

    " Tough read but very educational "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 mike | 4/26/2013

    " this book's high repute baffles me. I must need to read it more closely. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alexiss, x | 3/25/2013

    " i onli read dis book bcos the authours name was alexis it really wasnt that good well i didn't like it any way "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey | 2/9/2013

    " Researched in comparison to Robert Frank's "The Americans" for my Photojournalism class. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcos | 12/10/2012

    " This is a good book if you are interested in the historical process of democratic theory. It is interesting to see the first steps of this form of government and the thoughts of those living through that era. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hans Klein | 11/12/2012

    " One of the most boring books I ever read. I've just skipped around and read some random passages and also an essay at the back for the past 2 years. I literally read this when I want to be put to sleep, it's that bad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thalia | 10/4/2012

    " A political, historical and philosophical milestone. And never boring despite being a rather dry subject usually. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 8/9/2012

    " I didn't read the whole thing- skipped around - but I enjoyed what I read. De Tocqueville was right about many many things. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 7/5/2012

    " I've always loved the commentary made on de Tocqueville in " Born ...." with Judy Holliday ... . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 5/26/2012

    " I loved this book. Tocqueville came to the US to study why our revolution led to freedom while the French revolution did not. His analysis of our government, leadership roles and more was peppered with insightful views. Altogether a very good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monte | 4/27/2012

    " only a partly done. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jared Tester | 3/21/2012

    " "Democracy In America" is at once a fascinating travelogue and a brilliant work of political philosophy. If you wish to understand these United States and their system of governance, this is one of the books with which you absolutely must begin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fouletier | 11/13/2011

    " LA VISION D'UN NOBLE LIBERAL SUR LES INSTITUTIONS AMERICAINES, PARTICULIEREMENT DEMOCRATIQUES A L'EPOQUE, UN LIVRE REFERENCE A MEDITER DE PART LES EVOLUTIONS RECENTES DU DROIT DES LIBERTES FONDAMENTALES AUX ETATS-UNIS. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 8/18/2011

    " I didn't read the whole thing- skipped around - but I enjoyed what I read. De Tocqueville was right about many many things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Rivera | 8/14/2011

    " Tocqueville was a rather insightful man who identified key characteristics which essentially allowed America to flourish and prosper during his time. Students and politicians alike would be wise to take the time to read this work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen | 7/13/2011

    " I'm just a few pages into this book and it's a slow go with all of my reading for classes, but so far a very interesting and great backdrop to the beginnings of our country. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent | 7/4/2011

    " This review of American from the eyes of a Frenchmen who is enamoured with Liberty can be a real revelation for modern American's who take our freedom and way of life for granted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rissi | 6/20/2011

    " I've read parts of this book and am fascinated by it. Somehow I never finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dwayne | 4/29/2011

    " Pretty insightful, I'm enjoying the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ke | 4/8/2011

    " Interesting point about women. It surprised me how prophetic he was about the war.

    Some of his views seemed to be more a comparative stance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 3/19/2011

    " This book is incredible. French servants are sent to observe what they see in a growing America. This book describes the feel and beauty from the start of our country. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey | 3/18/2011

    " Read selections for Senior Traditio. Really enjoyed this; AdT drew interesting parallels between communism and democracy, which I would never have thought to do, but it makes sense. And here we are today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 3/5/2011

    " An amazing outside look at the Americas that is still relevant for today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 pjr8888 | 1/27/2011

    " my paperback copy is a Mentor Book, published by The New America Library, c1956, Eighth printing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 1/15/2011

    " It is a long and difficult read, but worth it. Alexis de Tocqueville visited the US in 1831, and his views on our culture, institutions and government are very relevant today. It is an objective look at America before we were a world power. "

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