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JHU SAIS Professor Michael Mandelbaum Publishes New Book on Democracy, Explaining Why We Can't Just Export It

Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy and director of the American Foreign Policy Program at The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), has recently published Democracy's Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World's Most Popular Form of Government. PublicAffairs in New York is the book's publisher.

In his New York Times column on 09/9, Thomas L. Friedman wrote that Democracy's Good Name is "a timely new book…highly relevant to America's democracy project in Iraq and beyond."

Mandelbaum's latest book addresses the rapid spread of democracy all around the world in the last quarter of the 20th century, one of the most remarkable and significant developments in modern history. In 1900, only 10 countries could be counted as democracies. By 1975 there were 30. Today, 119 of the world's 190 countries have adopted democracy, and it is by far the most celebrated and prestigious form of government.

How did democracy acquire its good name? Why did it spread so far so fast? Why do important countries remain undemocratic? What accounts for the fact that the introduction of one of democracy's defining features-free elections--has sometimes led to political repression and large--scale bloodshed? And why do efforts to export democracy so often fail and even make conditions worse? What does this mean for Iraq, China and Russia? In Democracy's Good Name, Mandelbaum answers these questions.

The book traces the political traditions that gave rise to modern democracy in the 18th and 19th centuries and explores the reasons for its extraordinary surge in the 20th. Mandelbaum discusses the relationship between democracy, on the one hand, and war and terrorism on the other, and assesses the prospects for the establishment of democracy in Russia, China and the Arab world. He explains why the United States has found it so difficult to foster democratic governments in other countries. Democracy's Good Name presents a lucid, comprehensive and surprising account of the history and future of democracy from the American Revolution to the occupation of Iraq.

Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, is the author of 10 previous books, including The Ideas that Conquered the World and The Case for Goliath.

SAIS is one of the country's leading graduate schools devoted to the study of international relations. Located along Embassy Row in Washington's Dupont Circle area, the school enrolls more than 450 full-time graduate students and mid-career professionals and has trained more than 13,000 alumni in all aspects of international affairs.

To request a review copy of the book, contact Whitney Peeling at PublicAffairs at 212.397.6666 x234 or whitney.peeling@publicaffairsbooks.com.

Date: 
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
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Felisa Neuringer Klubes
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(202) 663.5626