Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Joseph Epstein: De Tocqueville's guide

Given we celebrated the founding of America the 4th of this month, your humble blogger was moved to introduce you to this phenomenal biography of one of the sharpest observers of American culture and democracy: Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide by Joseph Epstein.  Any enthusiast of American politics and democracy (or democracy in general, for that matter) worth their weight needs to read Alexis De Tocqueville.  Considering his masterpiece, Democracy in America was written in the early 1800's, De Tocqueville may be a bit of a challenging read without some help.  Epstein's biography proves to do just that with a deft writing style and thoroughly researched insight.

Democracy's Guide goes into the mind of Alexis De Toqueville -literally- injecting some of his correspondence during his travels and publishing process into the work.  Epstein juxtaposes this with a comprehensive probe of Early 19th Century Europe and America, illuminating the context in which a brilliant mind from France would  create the seminal work on American democracy. Brought together through an approachable yet insightful writing technique, Epstein shows to be a handy resource in understanding the man behind one of the greatest books written about America.

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