Adventures in Democracy

Adventures in Democracy

The Turbulent World of People Power


'Sparkling . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition' Guardian

'Enjoyable vitality' The Times

'Highly stimulating . . . wonderfully readable . . . her analysis of democracy's key strengths and weaknesses is forensic' Literary Review

Democracy is a living, breathing thing and Erica Benner has spent a lifetime thinking about the role ordinary citizens play in keeping it alive: from her childhood in post-war Japan, where democracy was imposed on a defeated country, to working in post-communist Poland, with its sudden gaps of wealth and security. This book draws on her experiences and the deep history of self-ruling peoples – going back to ancient Greece, the French revolution and Renaissance Florence – to rethink some of the toughest questions that we face today.

What do democratic ideals of equality mean in a world obsessed with competition, wealth, and greatness? How can we hold the powerful to account? Can we find enough common ground to keep sharing democratic power in the future? Challenging well-worn myths of heroic triumph over tyranny, Benner reveals the inescapable vulnerabilities of people power, inviting us to consider why democracy is worth fighting for and the role each of us must play.


  • A sparkling account of people power through the ages, and how to save it from itself . . . a page-turner full of wit, original insight and unassuming erudition . . . a timely reminder that we can all play our part
    Katja Hoyer, Guardian

About the author

Erica Benner

Erica Benner is a political philosopher who has taught at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Yale. She is the author of Be Like the Fox, which was selected as one of the Guardian's Best Books of 2017 and shortlisted for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. Erica was born in Japan and currently lives in Berlin.
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