From the former secretary of state and bestselling author--a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.
From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has been on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.
In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy's challenges into perspective.
For more than two centuries, popular desire for self-government has been an engine of change reshaping the international system. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.
While the ideal conditions for democratization are well known, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones. No two transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backwards. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right.
These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by democracy today. The pursuit of democracy is an ongoing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing an authoritarian regime, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming a mature democracy to better reflect its ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.