100 Books on Democracy

When I began a self-directed study of democracy, I looked for a list of books to guide me. I found a few lists,  but none that included the masters of democratic thoughts like Dahl, Lipset, or Huntington. I knew some of the names from my undergraduate program in political science, but felt I was ignorant of the important classics and had no idea where to begin to learn about contemporary scholarship.

My list is not exhaustive. I tried to include books that focus on democracy rather than books that merely influence democracy scholarship. For example, I did not include Rousseau’s Social Contract or Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. I left out other books that probably belong like Piketty’s Capital and Ideology, but plan to offer a second list of background reading for the democracy scholar to include key works that fall outside my narrow definition. 

A final note is I have read all of these books. I came across some because the libraries near my home had copies. Others I sought out through interlibrary loan. Some of the authors have appeared on my podcast. I did not rank the works but kept them alphabetical by author’s last name. My hope is new scholars will use the list to discover classics and new research before they begin to identify them on their own. The links provide places to obtain the books. Some are available as audiobooks.Hopefully, it will serve as inspiration for some future democracy scholar or theorist. 

100 Books on Democracy

  1. Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (2005) – Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Gerard Alexander (2002) – The Sources of Democratic Consolidation  WorldCat, Amazon
  3. David Altman (2010) – Direct Democracy Worldwide  WorldCat, Amazon
  4. Anne Applebaum (2020) – Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  5. Roland Axtmann (2007) – Democracy: Problems and Perspectives  WorldCat, Amazon
  6. Irving Babbitt (1924) – Democracy and Leadership  WorldCat, Amazon
  7. Peter Bachrach (1967) – The Theory of Democratic Elitism: A Critique  WorldCat, Amazon
  8. Majid Behrouzi (2005) – Democracy as the Political Empowerment of the People: The Betrayal of an Ideal  WorldCat, Amazon
  9. Sheri Berman (2019) – Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  10. Chris Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi Accetti (2021) – Technopopulism The New Logic of Democratic Politics  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  11. Derek Black (2020) – Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy  WorldCatAmazonPodcast
  12. Bill Brugger (1999) – Republican Theory in Political Thought: Virtuous or Virtual?  WorldCat, Amazon
  13. Michael Lane Bruner (2009) – Democracy’s Debt: The Historical Tensions Between Political and Economic Liberty  WorldCat, Amazon
  14. James Bryce (1921) – Modern Democracies, Vol. 1  WorldCat, Amazon
  15. Luis Cabrera (2020) – The Humble Cosmopolitan: Rights, Diversity, and Trans-state Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  16. Thomas Carothers (1999) – Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve  WorldCat, Amazon
  17. Thomas Carothers and Andrew O’Donohue (2019) – Democracies Divided: The Global Challenge of Political Polarization  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  18. Daniel Carpenter (2021) – Democracy by Petition: Popular Politics in Transformation, 1790–1870  WorldCatAmazonPodcast
  19. Agnes Cornell, Jørgen Møller, and Svend-Erik Skaaning (2020) – Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis: Reassessing the Interwar Period  WorldCat, AmazonPodcast
  20. Robert Dahl (1989) – Democracy and its Critics WorldCat, Amazon
  21. Robert Dahl (2006) – On Political Equality WorldCat, Amazon
  22. Robert Dahl (1971) – Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition WorldCat, Amazon
  23. Robert Dahl (1956) – A Preface to Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon
  24. Robert Dahl (1998) – On Democracy  WorldCat, AmazonAudible
  25. Robert Dahl (2001) – How Democratic Is the American Constitution?  WorldCat, AmazonAudible
  26. John Dewey (1916) – Democracy and Education  WorldCatAmazonAudible, Librivox
  27. Larry Diamond (2008) – The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World WorldCat, Amazon
  28. Larry Diamond (2019) – Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American ComplacencyWorldCat, AmazonAudible
  29. Lee Drutman (2020) – Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America  WorldCat, AmazonAudiblePodcast
  30. John Dryzek (2000) – Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations  WorldCatAmazon
  31. Kevin Duong (2020) – The Virtues of Violence: Democracy Against Disintegration in Modern France  WorldCat, Amazon
  32. James Fishkin (2009) – When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation  WorldCatAmazon
  33. Cristina Flesher Fominaya (2020) – Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain’s Political Laboratory from 15-M to Podemos  WorldCat, Amazon
  34. Francis Fukuyama (1992) – The End of History and the Last Man WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  35. Francis Fukuyama (2014) – Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  36. William Galston (2018) – Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy WorldCat, AmazonAudible
  37. John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch (2020) – Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into Politics  WorldCat, AmazonAudible, Podcast
  38. Tom Ginsburg (2003) – Judicial Review in New Democracies: Constitutional Courts in Asian Cases WorldCat, Amazon
  39. Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq (2018) – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  40. David Graeber (2013) – The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  41. Jürgen Habermas (1996) – The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory  WorldCat, Amazon
  42. Carolyn M. Hendriks, John Boswell, and Selen A. Ercan (2020) – Mending Democracy: Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  43. Catherine E. Herrold (2020) – Delta Democracy: Pathways to Incremental Civic Revolution in Egypt and Beyond  WorldCat, Amazon
  44. Katharine Hite and Paola Cesarini, eds. (2004) – Authoritarian Legacies and Democracy in Latin America and Southern Europe  WorldCat, Amazon
  45. Michael Hoffman (2021) – Faith in Numbers: Religion, Sectarianism, and Democracy  WorldCatAmazonPodcast
  46. Jonathan Hopkin (2020) – Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  47. William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe (2020) – Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  48. Michael L. Hughes (2021) – Embracing Democracy in Modern Germany: Political Citizenship and Participation, 1871-2000WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  49. Samuel Huntington (1991) – The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century WorldCat, Amazon
  50. John Ikenberry (2020) – A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order. WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  51. Jennie C. Ikuta (2020) – Contesting Conformity: Democracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging  WorldCat, Amazon
  52. Christophe Jaffrelot (2021) – Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy  WorldCatAmazon, Podcast
  53. Kajri Jain (2021) – Gods in the Time of Democracy  WorldCat, AmazonPodcast
  54. Erich Kofmel, ed. (2008) – Anti-Democratic Thought  WorldCat, Amazon
  55. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes (2019) – The Light that Failed: Why the West is Losing the Fight for Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  56. Matthew Kroenig (2020) – The Return of Great Power Rivalry: Democracy vs. Autocracy From the Ancient World to the U.S. and China WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  57. Hélène Landemore (2020) – Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  58. Edward L. Lascher and Joshua J, Dyck (2019) – Initiatives Without Engagement: A Realistic Appraisal of Direct Democracy’s Secondary Effects  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  59. Ryszard Legutko (2016) – The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  60. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (2018) – How Democracies Die WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  61. Arend Lijphart (1999, 2012) (2nd Edition) – Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries WorldCat, Amazon
  62. Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan (eds.) (4 vols.)  (1978) – The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes WorldCat, Amazon 
  63. Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan (1996) – Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist EuropeWorldCatAmazon
  64. Seymour Martin Lipset (1960) – Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics WorldCat, Amazon
  65. Gabrielle Lynch, Justin Willis, and Nic Cheeseman (2021) – The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa: Democracy, Voting and Virtue  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  66. C. B. Macpherson (1973) – Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval  WorldCat, Amazon
  67. John G. Matsusaka (2020) – Let the People Rule: How Direct Democracy Can Meet the Populist Challenge  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  68. Marlene Mauk (2020) – Citizen Support for Democratic and Autocratic Regimes  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  69. Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman (2020) – Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  70. John Stuart Mill (1861) – Considerations on Representative Government  WorldCat, AmazonLibrivox
  71. Michael Miller (2021) – Shock to the System: Coups, Elections, and War on the Road to Democratization WorldCatAmazon
  72. Barrington Moore (1966) – Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World  WorldCatAmazon
  73. Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau (1985) – Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics WorldCat, Amazon
  74. Chantal Mouffe (2000) – The Democratic Paradox WorldCat, Amazon
  75. Chantal Mouffe, ed. (1992) – Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community  WorldCat, Amazon
  76. Yascha Mounk (2018) – The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save it WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  77. Jan-Werner Müller (2021) – Democracy Rules WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  78. Daniel Nelson, ed. (1995) – After Authoritarianism: Democracy Or Disorder?  WorldCat, Amazon
  79. Elizabeth R. Nugent (2020) – After Repression: How Polarization Derails Democratic Transition  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  80. Guillermo O’Donnell and Phillippe Schmitter (1986) – Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain DemocraciesWorldCatAmazon
  81. Zizi Papacharissi (2021) – After Democracy: Imagining Our Political Future  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  82. Takis Pappas (2019) – Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  83. Jonathan C. Pinckney (2020) – From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions  WorldCat, AmazonPodcast
  84. David Pion-Berlin (2016) – Military Missions in Democratic Latin America  WorldCatAmazon
  85. Adam Przeworski (2019) – Crises of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  86. Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro (2018) – Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself WorldCat, Amazon
  87. Bryn Rosenfeld (2020) – Autocratic Middle Class: How State Dependency Reduces the Demand for DemocracyWorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  88. David Runciman (2018) – How Democracy Ends  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  89. Giovanni Sartori (1962) – Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon
  90. E. E. Schattschneider (1960) – The Semisovereign People: A Realist’s View of Democracy in America  WorldCatAmazon
  91. Carl Schmitt (1922) – The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  92. Joseph A. Schumpeter (1943) – Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  93. Ganesh Sitaraman (2019) – The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, & United America WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  94. Amy Erica Smith (2019) – Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  95. David Stasavage (2020) – The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  96. Geoffrey R. Stone and David A. Strauss (2020) – Democracy and Equality: The Enduring Constitutional Vision of the Warren Court WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  97. Alexis De Tocqueville(1835, 1840) – Democracy in America WorldCat, AmazonAudible, Librivox
  98. David Van Reybrouck (2013) – Against Elections: The Case for Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon
  99. Kurt Weyland (2021) – Assault on Democracy: Communism, Fascism, and Authoritarianism During the Interwar Years  WorldCatAmazonPodcast
  100. E. B. White (2019) – On Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible

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