The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present – Revised Edition by David Runciman

An interesting book on the stability as well as instability that characterises the democratic form of governance. David Runciman highlights – what he deems – seven critical years to demonstrate various crisis situations that shook democracy by the scruff of its neck but failed in a collective mission to uproot it. The years in question are 1918 (the immediate aftermath of the bloody World War I), 1933 (the rise of Hitlerism and the failed World Congress to decide on the future of global economy), 1947 (the aftermath of World War II and the inception of the Cold War era), 1962 (The Cuban Missile Crisis; Sino-Indian war and the downfall of Adenauer in West Germany), 1974 (The Watergate Scandal), 1989 (The End of the Cold War, fall of the Berlin Wall and the impending collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union) and 2008 (The Great Recession).

In each of the aforementioned crisis, hammer blows rained upon democratically elected Governments threatening to rip out the very edifice of the basis upon which they were elected. But in every case, democracy ultimately prevailed, but hardly by much!

Even though heavy with technicalities, the books makes for some interesting reading especially for those keen to explore the machinations of a democracy at work.

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