Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French politician from an aristocratic family who wrote incredibly influential books about democracy and the causes of the French Revolution. Despite liberal leanings, more than ten members of Tocqueville’s extended family were executed during the Terror, including his great-grandfather, Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes. Tocqueville travelled extensively, not only to the United States but also to England, Ireland and North Africa. A recent prizewinning biography about Tocqueville is The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville (2022) by Olivier Zunz, a Tocqueville scholar at the University of Virginia. Coming out in 2023 is a book that focuses on his travels, Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America, by political theorist Jeremy Jennings.

Books by Alexis de Tocqueville

Interviews where books by Alexis de Tocqueville were recommended

The best books on Liberal Democracy, recommended by Francis Fukuyama

Even some of the world’s most authoritarian rulers continue to pay lip service to democracy and people’s right to vote for their leaders, but the days when many social scientists believed that all countries at a certain level of prosperity would eventually turn to liberal democracy are over, says Francis Fukuyama, now a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute. Here, he recommends books to better understand liberal democracy, and what those of us lucky enough to live in one can do to protect our form of government.

Stephen Breyer on his Intellectual Influences

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer talks about the books that have influenced his thinking and explains why reading widely, including literature, is essential for judges and lawyers.

The best books on The French Revolution, recommended by Peregrine Worsthorne

For anybody wanting to go into politics a mastery of the French Revolution is an enormous help and a knowledge of history essential, says Peregrine Worsthorne, the columnist and former editor of Britain’s Sunday Telegraph. He recommends the best books on the French Revolution, both for and against.

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