Adventures in Democracy

Adventures in Democracy

The Turbulent World of People Power


Brought to you by Penguin.

In a hyper-competitive world obsessed with rankings, super-wealth and greatness, how can we live up to democratic ideals of equality?

Erica Benner has spent a lifetime thinking about these questions from different angles in different countries - from post-war Japan, where democracy was imposed on a defeated country, to post-communist Poland, with sudden gaps of wealth and security, and the US and South Africa with their legacies of slavery and racism.

Adventures in Democracy draws on her experiences and the deep history of democracies - in ancient Rome and Athens, the American and French revolutions and Renaissance Florence - to offer an unflinching portrait of modern democracy. To salvage democratic institutions and ideals, Benner argues, we need to pay more attention to inequalities and struggles for power among citizens. Probing myths of heroic triumph over tyranny and inexorable progress towards equality, she reveals the vulnerabilities of people power, inviting us to consider why democracy is worth fighting for and the role each citizen must play.

©2024 Erica Benner (P)2024 Penguin Audio


  • 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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