Summary of Alexis de Tocqueville

A Life

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Alexis de Tocqueville book summary
You can’t understand America without reading Tocqueville. You can’t understand Tocqueville without reading this book.

Rating

8 Overall

6 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style

Recommendation

Many experts consider Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America the best book ever written on democracy and on the United States. Published in two series of separate volumes, in 1835 and 1840, Tocqueville’s political classic is filled with an astonishing number of penetrating insights and acute observations on the nature of democracy, the character of Americans and the exceptional nation they were carving out of the wilderness in the 1800s. Many of Tocqueville’s remarkably prescient judgments remain as valid today as they were when he wrote them more than 160 years ago. Hugh Brogan, political scientist and professor, provides an informative account of the life and times of this brilliant French intellectual who expertly captured the essence of America and Americans. Brogan’s heavily annotated, exhaustively referenced book is both exceedingly comprehensive and highly nuanced. Many say that to understand America, you should read Tocqueville’s classic book. getAbstract says that to understand its renowned author, you should read this commanding biography.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Who Alexis de Tocqueville was
  • What influenced his life
  • Why Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont came to America in 1831
  • Why Democracy in America is a masterpiece
  • What Tocqueville’s life was like in France from the 1830s to the 1850s
 

Summary

A Young Nobleman from Normandy
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was born in 1805 to a venerable aristocratic family in Normandy. He grew up to be a profound intellectual and the celebrated author of De la démocratie en Amérique ( Democracy in America). His forebears...
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About the Author

Hugh Brogan is a research professor of history at the University of Essex in England. He is a former journalist with The Economist. Brogan taught extensively at various U.S. universities. His principal field of study is the history of the United States, with an emphasis on politics.


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