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Tocqueville between Two Worlds:
The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life
Sheldon S. Wolin

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"Wolin wants to make Tocqueville into a serious postmodern thinker. For Wolin, Tocqueville puts his finger on the central conflict in American life, which is between the forms of democracy and real politics."--Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

"In striving to give us Tocqueville whole, and in doing so more than any one writer in English, Mr. Wolin puts us so far in his debt that any criticism seems . . . small souled."--Will Morrisey, The Washington Times

"[An] ambitious and very comprehensive study. . . . This book is an unusually penetrating and stimulating guide to Tocqueville the man and theorist as well as to modern political thought generally as it might be seen if considered from a Tocquevillian point of view. It is a major contribution."--Choice

"Wolin here develops [Toqueville's philosophy] with enormous intellectual energy and flair through several hundred pages of a book which is clearly intended to be definitive."--Biancamaria Fontana, Times Literary Supplement

"A masterful exploration of Alexis de Tocqueville's entire oeuvre . . . Whether the vestiges of the old world could be used to moderate the fearsome potential of the new one was the problem of Tocqueville's life. Wolin helps us understand this problem and those worlds with the sophistication and subtlety of a scholar steeped in the canon of western political thought."--Johnathan O'Neill, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Tocqueville Between Two Worlds . . . is always interesting and sometimes fascinating."--Alan Ryan, The New York Review of Books

"Sheldon Wolin here revisits the major themes of his influential writing. . . . The premise of this ambitious book is that one can gain a deeper sense of the challenges facing both modern and 'postmodern' politics by following Tocqueville's simultaneous attempts to create a political life and to reinvent political theory by straddling the various dichotomous worlds of Wolin's title."--Cheryl B. Welch, Political Studies

"One of the most interesting books in political theory published in the last few years. . . . Wolin's theoretical ambition mirrors Tocqueville's own goal of creating a new political science for a new epoch. . . . Like Tocqueville, he has the ambition to educate democratic regime in a society of individuals whose most powerful desire is to get rich and who are ready to abandon public affairs."--Aurelian Craiutu, Review of Politic

"Sheldon S. Wolin demonstrates how Toqueville's classic Democracy in America is also a study of aristocracy in America--a subsidiary but fascinating theme that here receives, for the first time, the loving attention it deserves."--Peregrine Worsthorne, New Statesman

"An important and provocative masterwork, one that deserves to achieve enduring status in the years ahead."--Aristide Tessitore, Journal of Politics


"Sheldon Wolin's Tocqueville between Two Worlds conveys a sweep of historical analysis that gives us deep insight not only into Tocqueville himself but also into the American character. The result is a work of supreme scholarship that sheds light on America's present and possible future as well as its past."---Senator Bill Bradley

"In his new interpretation of Tocqueville, Sheldon Wolin speaks with a master's voice. For him, Tocqueville's theme is the revival of the political within democracy and against the tendencies of democracy. There is no grander topic for us today, and Wolin's treatment is penetrating, thorough, and authoritative. This is a major work of political theory."--Harvey Mansfield, Harvard University

"Sheldon Wolin is perhaps the most compelling American political theorist writing in the last half of the twentieth century. Here is a new book to launch the twenty-first, one that shows us how pertinent Tocqueville remains for democrats today and why Wolin continues to inspire so many political theorists."--William E. Connolly, author of Why I Am Not a Secularist

"Sheldon Wolin has given us a study of Tocqueville worthy of its subject, the greatest interpreter of American democracy. More than a masterful account of Tocqueville's life and thought, Wolin's book is likely to be an enduring work of political theory in its own right. Drawing on Tocqueville's concern with the fate of the political, Wolin offers sobering insights into the democratic prospect in our time."--Michael Sandel, Harvard University, author of Democracy's Discontent

"This is a magisterial study, a major interpretation of Tocqueville as a political theorist. Wolin has not simply restored Tocqueville to a forgotten place of honor in the canon of political theory. He has created a new place for him, showing how deep and extensive the range of Tocqueville's considerations of democracy have been, paralleling the path of modernity itself."--Thomas Dumm, Amherst College

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File created: 4/21/2017

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