Democracy Readings and Book List

Every week a new book is added to the democracy readings along with an in-depth reflection on its importance and relevance to democratic theory and practice. Some works are simply classic works of political science, philosophy, sociology, or economics, but each one has some influence or implication on political thought.

Many of the works below are classics of political thought, although a few works of recent scholarship are also included. After the podcast was introduced in June 2020, the democracy readings moved away from recent works to focus on classics. Links are provided for Worldcat and Amazon to make it possible to access the original works. Additional links to Project Gutenberg, Librivox, and Audible are provided where available.

Essential Democracy Readings

Robert Dahl and Polyarchy

  1. Democracy and its Critics WorldCat, Amazon
  2. On Political Equality WorldCat, Amazon
  3. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition WorldCat, Amazon
  4. A Preface to Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon

Francis Fukuyama and the Inevitability of Democracy

  1. The End of History and the Last Man WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  2. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  3. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution WorldCat, Amazon
  4. Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible

Chantal Mouffe and Radical Democracy

  1. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically  WorldCat, Amazon
  3. For a Left Populism  WorldCatAmazon
  4. On the Political WorldCat, Amazon
  5. The Democratic Paradox WorldCat, Amazon
  6. The Return of the Political WorldCat, Amazon

Other Classic Democracy Readings

  1. John Dewey (1916) – Democracy and Education  WorldCatAmazonProject Gutenberg, Audible, Librivox
  2. Larry Diamond (2008) – The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World WorldCat, Amazon
  3. John Dryzek (2000) – Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations  WorldCatAmazon
  4. James Fishkin (2009) – When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation  WorldCatAmazon
  5. Jürgen Habermas (1996) – The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory  WorldCat, Amazon
  6. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (2018) – How Democracies Die WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  7. Arend Lijphart (1999, 2012) (2nd Edition) – Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries WorldCat, Amazon
  8. Juan J. Linz (1978) – The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Crisis, Breakdown, & Reequilibration WorldCat, Amazon
  9. Barrington Moore (1966) – Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World  WorldCatAmazon
  10. Giovanni Sartori (1962) – Democratic Theory WorldCat, Amazon
  11. E. E. Schattschneider (1960) – The Semisovereign People: A Realist’s View of Democracy in America  WorldCatAmazon
  12. Joseph A. Schumpeter (1943) – Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  13. Alexis De Tocqueville(1835, 1840) – Democracy in America WorldCat, Amazon, Project Gutenberg, Audible, Librivox
  14. E. B. White (2019) – On Democracy WorldCat, Amazon

Recent Democracy Readings

  1. Anne Applebaum (2020) – Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  2. Sheri Berman (2019) – Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day WorldCat, Amazon
  3. Larry Alan Busk (2020) – Democracy in Spite of the Demos: From Arendt to the Frankfurt School WorldCat, Amazon
  4. Ivan Cerovac (2020) – Epistemic Democracy and Political Legitimacy WorldCat, Amazon
  5. Andrew Cumbers (2020) – The Case for Economic Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  6. Ramón A. Feenstra (2019) – Kidnapped Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  7. Cristina Flesher Fominaya (2020) – Democracy Reloaded WorldCat, Amazon
  8. Roslyn Fuller (2019) – In Defense of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  9. Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq (2018) – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  10. A. C. Grayling (2020) – The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  11. Jonathan Hopkin (2020) – Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies WorldCat, Amazon
  12. Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman (2020) – Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  13. Yascha Mounk (2018) – The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save it WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  14. Takis Pappas (2019) – Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis WorldCat, Amazon
  15. Adam Przeworski (2019) – Crises of Democracy WorldCat, Amazon
  16. Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro (2018) – Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself WorldCat, Amazon
  17. Ganesh Sitaraman (2019) – The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, & United America WorldCat, Amazon
  18. David Stasavage (2020) – The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today WorldCat, Amazon

Anti-Democracy Readings

  1. Garett Jones (2020) – 10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Ryszard Legutko (2016) – The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies WorldCat, Amazon, Audible

Carl Schmitt and the Political

  1. Tr. George Schwab (1932) – The Concept of the Political WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Tr. Ellen Kennedy (1922) – The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy WorldCat, Amazon

Readings in Political Science

Samuel Huntington and Modernization

  1. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  2. Political Order in Changing Societies WorldCat, Amazon
  3. The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  4. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century WorldCat, Amazon

Seymour Martin Lipset and Political Values

  1. Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics WorldCat, Amazon

Traditional Political Science

  1. Tim Bale, Paul Webb and Monica Poletti (2019) – Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century WorldCat, Amazon
  2. Marl R. Beissinger (2002) – Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State  WorldCatAmazon
  3. Paul Chaisty, Nic Cheeseman and Timothy J. Power (2018) – Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Presidents in Multiparty Systems WorldCat, Amazon
  4. Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas (2018) – How to Rig an Election WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  5. András Körösényi, Gábor Illés, and Attila Gyulai (2020) – The Orbán Regime: Plebiscitary Leader Democracy in the Making WorldCat, Amazon
  6. Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way (2010) – Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War WorldCat, Amazon
  7. Noam Lupu, Virginia Oliveros, and Luis Schiumerini (editors) (2019) – Campaigns and Voters in Developing Democracies: Argentina in Comparative Perspective WorldCat, Amazon
  8. Cas Mudde (2019) – The Far Right Today WorldCat, Amazon
  9. David Pion-Berlin (2016) – Military Missions in Democratic Latin America  WorldCatAmazon
  10. Robert Putnam (2000) – Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  11. Amartya Sen (1999) – Development as Freedom WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  12. Andrew Wilson (2012) – Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship  WorldCatAmazon

International Relations

  1. Elizabeth Economy (2018) – The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  2. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes (2020) – The Light that Failed: Why the West is Losing the Fight for Democracy WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  3. Matthew Kroenig (2020) – The Return of Great Power Rivalry: Democracy vs. Autocracy From the Ancient World to the U.S. and China WorldCat, Amazon
  4. David Shambaugh (2013) – China Goes Global: The Partial Power  WorldCatAmazonAudible
  5. George  Soroka and Tomasz Stepniewski (editors) (2018) – Ukraine After Maidan: Revisiting Domestic and Regional Security WorldCat, Amazon

Readings in Philosophy, Sociology, and Economics

Karl Marx and the Capitalist Critique

  1. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1 WorldCat, Amazon, Audible, Librivox
  2. Capital, Volume II: The Process of Circulation of Capital WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  3. Capital, Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  4. The German Ideology  WorldCatAmazon


  1. Hannah Arendt (1951, 1958) – The Origins of Totalitarianism WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  2. Aristotle (4th Century BCE) – Politics WorldCat, Amazon, Project Gutenberg, Audible, Librivox
  3. Isaiah Berlin (1979) – Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas WorldCat, Amazon
  4. Michel de Certeau (1980) – The Practice of Everyday Life  WorldCatAmazon
  5. Patrick Deneen (2018) – Why Liberalism Failed WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  6. Antonio Gramsci, tr. Quintin Hoare (1978) – Selections from Political Writings 1921-1926 WorldCat, Amazon
  7. Ernesto Laclau (2005) – On Populist Reason –  WorldCatAmazon
  8. Niccolò Machiavelli (1517) – Discourses on Livy WorldCat, Amazon, Project Gutenberg, Librivox
  9. Friedrich Nietzsche (1887) – On the Genealogy of Morality WorldCat, Amazon, Audible
  10. John Rawls (1971, 1999) – A Theory of Justice WorldCat, Amazon


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