Today, democracy is the world’s only broadly accepted political system, and yet it has become synonymous with disappointment and crisis. The author of the classic history of 1960s protest, Democracy Is in the Streets, offers a history of the democratic idea from its first stirrings to the present.
[Miller] demonstrates a sobriety and clear-sightedness when tackling the difficult dilemmas of tactics and social change...The strength of this book lies not in its sometimes convoluted memoir nor in its occasionally boilerplate prose but rather in the exquisite portraits it paints of characters...while the book peters out with his hand-wringing on the failures of the protest movement Occupy Wall Street, Can Democracy Work? offers insightful context on how our own body politic will survive these turbulent times.
[A] searching and somewhat sprawling book...sometimes distracting bits of memoir...[Miller] hopes for the development of 'new ways' to restore democratic systems and people’s faith in them, but doesn’t spell out what those might be.
James Miller...offers an attractively broad and accessible account of democracy from the Greeks to the present ... America’s current plight spurs Miller (drawing on F. Scott Fitzgerald) to some passionate and anguished prose ... Anyone reading...particularly in the current grim political moment, will come away convinced of the fragile nature of the ideas underlying rights-based liberal democracy.