Daniel Ziblatt

How Democracies Die
  • How Democracies Die

  • How does a democracy die?
    What can we do to save our own?
    What lessons does history teach us?

    In the 21st century democracy is threatened like never before. Drawing insightful lessons from across history - from Pinochet's murderous Chilean regime to Erdogan's quiet dismantling in Turkey - Levitsky and Ziblatt explain why democracies fail, how leaders like Trump subvert them today and what each of us can do to protect our democratic rights.

    'A useful primer on the importance of norms, institutional restraints and civic participation in maintaining a democracy - and how quickly those things can erode when we're not paying attention' President Barack Obama

    'A must-read' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times

    'Excellent, scholarly, readable, alarming and level-headed' Nick Cohen, Observer

    'The greatest of the many merits of Levitsky and Ziblatt's How Democracies Die is their rejection of western exceptionalism. They tell inspiring stories I had not heard before. Excellent' Nick Cohen, Observer

    'Provocative, timely. One of my favourite reads this year' Elif Shafak, author of The Bastard of Istanbul

    'Anyone who is concerned about the future of democracy should read this brisk, accessible book. Anyone who is not concerned should definitely read it' Daron Acemoglu, co-author of Why Nations Fail

    'A lucid and essential guide to what can happen' Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

    'We owe the authors a debt of thanks for bringing their deep understanding to bear on the central political issue of the day' Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay


    'In this brilliant historical synthesis, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how the actions of elected leaders around the world have paved the road to democratic failure, and why the United States is now vulnerable to this same downward spiral. This book should be widely and urgently read as a clarion call to restore the shared beliefs and practices-beyond our formal constitution - that constitute the essential 'guardrails' for preserving democracy' Larry Diamond, author of The Spirit of Democracy

Daniel Ziblatt, a Professor of Government at Harvard University, is a leading authority on contemporary Europe and democracy and authoritarianism in Europe from the 19th century to the present. He is the author of Structuring the State and Conservative Political Parties and the Birth of Modern Democracy in Europe, of which Francis Fukuyama said 'revolutionizes the literature on democratic transitions'.