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. Bill Brugger (1999) – Republican Theory in Political Thought: Virtuous or Virtual?  WorldCat, Amazon
  12. Michael Lane Bruner (2009) – Democracy’s Debt: The Historical Tensions Between Political and Economic Liberty  WorldCat, Amazon
  13. James Bryce (1921) – Modern Democracies, Vol. 1  WorldCat, Amazon
  14. Larry Alan Busk (2020) – Democracy in Spite of the Demos: From Arendt to the Frankfurt School 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. Ivan Cerovac (2020) – Epistemic Democracy and Political Legitimacy WorldCat, Amazon
  19. Agnes Cornell, Jørgen Møller, and Svend-Erik Skaaning (2020) – Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis: Reassessing the Interwar Period  WorldCat, AmazonPodcast
  20. Andrew Cumbers (2020) – The Case for Economic Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  21. Robert Dahl (1989) – Democracy and its Critics WorldCat, Amazon
  22. Robert Dahl (2006) – On Political Equality WorldCat, Amazon
  23. Robert Dahl (1971) – Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition WorldCat, Amazon
  24. Robert Dahl (1956) – A Preface to Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon
  25. Robert Dahl (1998) – On Democracy  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. Ramón A. Feenstra (2019) – Kidnapped Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  33. James Fishkin (2009) – When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation  WorldCatAmazon
  34. Cristina Flesher Fominaya (2020) – Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain’s Political Laboratory from 15-M to Podemos  WorldCat, Amazon
  35. Francis Fukuyama (1992) – The End of History and the Last Man WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  36. Francis Fukuyama (2014) – Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  37. William Galston (2018) – Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy WorldCat, AmazonAudible
  38. John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch (2020) – Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into Politics  WorldCat, AmazonAudible, Podcast
  39. Tom Ginsburg (2003) – Judicial Review in New Democracies: Constitutional Courts in Asian Cases WorldCat, Amazon
  40. Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq (2018) – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  41. Chad Goldberg, ed. (2020) – Education for Democracy: Renewing the Wisconsin Idea  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  42. David Graeber (2013) – The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  43. A. C. Grayling (2020) – The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  44. Jürgen Habermas (1996) – The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory  WorldCat, Amazon
  45. Carolyn M. Hendriks, John Boswell, and Selen A. Ercan (2020) – Mending Democracy: Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  46. Catherine E. Herrold (2020) – Delta Democracy: Pathways to Incremental Civic Revolution in Egypt and Beyond  WorldCat, Amazon
  47. Katharine Hite and Paola Cesarini, eds. (2004) – Authoritarian Legacies and Democracy in Latin America and Southern Europe  WorldCat, Amazon
  48. Michael Hoffman (2021) – Faith in Numbers: Religion, Sectarianism, and Democracy  WorldCatAmazon
  49. Jonathan Hopkin (2020) – Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  50. William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe (2020) – Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  51. Michael L. Hughes (2021) – Embracing Democracy in Modern Germany: Political Citizenship and Participation, 1871-2000WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  52. Samuel Huntington (1991) – The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century WorldCat, Amazon
  53. John Ikenberry (2020) – A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order. WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  54. Jennie C. Ikuta (2020) – Contesting Conformity: Democracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging  WorldCat, Amazon
  55. Kajri Jain (2021) – Gods in the Time of Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon
  56. Erich Kofmel, ed. (2008) – Anti-Democratic Thought  WorldCat, Amazon
  57. András Körösényi, Gábor Illés, and Attila Gyulai (2020) – The Orbán Regime: Plebiscitary Leader Democracy in the Making WorldCat, Amazon
  58. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes (2019) – The Light that Failed: Why the West is Losing the Fight for Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  59. 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
  60. Hélène Landemore (2020) – Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  61. Edward L. Lascher and Joshua J, Dyck (2019) – Initiatives Without Engagement: A Realistic Appraisal of Direct Democracy’s Secondary Effects  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  62. Ryszard Legutko (2016) – The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  63. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (2018) – How Democracies Die WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  64. Arend Lijphart (1999, 2012) (2nd Edition) – Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries WorldCat, Amazon
  65. Juan J. Linz (1978) – The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Crisis, Breakdown, & Reequilibration WorldCat, Amazon
  66. Seymour Martin Lipset (1960) – Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics WorldCat, Amazon
  67. Noam Lupu, Virginia Oliveros, and Luis Schiumerini (editors) (2019) – Campaigns and Voters in Developing Democracies: Argentina in Comparative Perspective WorldCat, Amazon
  68. Gabrielle Lynch, Justin Willis, and Nic Cheeseman (2021) – The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa: Democracy, Voting and Virtue  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  69. C. B. Macpherson (1973) – Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval  WorldCat, Amazon
  70. John G. Matsusaka (2020) – Let the People Rule: How Direct Democracy Can Meet the Populist Challenge  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Podcast
  71. Marlene Mauk (2020) – Citizen Support for Democratic and Autocratic Regimes  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  72. Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman (2020) – Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  73. John Stuart Mill (1861) – Considerations on Representative Government  WorldCat, AmazonLibrivox
  74. Barrington Moore (1966) – Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World  WorldCatAmazon
  75. Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau (1985) – Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics WorldCat, Amazon
  76. Chantal Mouffe (2000) – The Democratic Paradox WorldCat, Amazon
  77. Yascha Mounk (2018) – The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save it WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  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. Zizi Papacharissi (2021) – After Democracy: Imagining Our Political Future  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  81. Takis Pappas (2019) – Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  82. Nathaniel Persily and Joshua A. Tucker, eds. (2020) – Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field, Prospects for Reform  WorldCat, Amazon
  83. Jonathan C. Pinckney (2020) – From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions  WorldCat, Amazon
  84. David Pion-Berlin (2016) – Military Missions in Democratic Latin America  WorldCatAmazon
  85. Adam Przeworski (2019) – Crises of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  86. Kimberly Jenkins Robinson (editor) (2019) – A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  87. Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro (2018) – Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself WorldCat, Amazon
  88. Bryn Rosenfeld (2020) – Autocratic Middle Class: How State Dependency Reduces the Demand for DemocracyWorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  89. David Runciman (2018) – How Democracy Ends  WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  90. Giovanni Sartori (1962) – Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon
  91. E. E. Schattschneider (1960) – The Semisovereign People: A Realist’s View of Democracy in America  WorldCatAmazon
  92. Carl Schmitt (1922) – The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  93. Joseph A. Schumpeter (1943) – Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  94. Ganesh Sitaraman (2019) – The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, & United America WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  95. Amy Erica Smith (2019) – Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God  WorldCat, Amazon, Podcast
  96. David Stasavage (2020) – The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  97. Geoffrey R. Stone and David A. Strauss (2020) – Democracy and Equality: The Enduring Constitutional Vision of the Warren Court WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  98. Alexis De Tocqueville(1835, 1840) – Democracy in America WorldCat, AmazonAudible, Librivox
  99. David Van Reybrouck (2013) – Against Elections: The Case for Democracy  WorldCat, Amazon
  100. E. B. White (2019) – On Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible

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