A new book from a powerful voice for democracy

by Janet Gilbert Journals, Direct Response and Renewals Senior Coordinator 

Speak with Marc Plattner about the state of democracy in the world today and you can almost see the neurons firing. His eyes light up as he speaks passionately, making sure we don’t miss an important new point or historical reference connected in the seemingly vast storehouse of his intellect.

Co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, he trudged through a snowstorm to keep his interview appointment at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC to discuss the just-released Journal of Democracy book, Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World. Co-edited with his JOD colleague Larry Diamond, the book takes a scholarly, analytical, and compelling multifaceted view of the historic uprisings still sweeping over the Arab world.

This volume includes chapters examining several broad themes: the region’s shifting political culture, the relationship between democracy and political Islam, the legacy of authoritarian ruling arrangements, the strengths and vulnerabilities of remaining autocracies, and the lessons learned from transitions to democracy in other parts of the world. It also features chapters analyzing the political development of individual countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and the monarchies of the Gulf.

Plattner acknowledges the risks of publishing a book on events that are still unfolding, saying “We felt that it was important to make available to a wider audience some of the best thinking about these critical events.” The result is a book with analyses and insights that are current, thought-provoking and insightful. It is available in paperback and in e-book.

Scholars, activists, and students will find this book as riveting as the snapshot provided in the newest installment of the Johns Hopkins University Press award-winning video series, In Other Words, below.