Slush Pile: A book, reviewed
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA
by Alexis de Tocqueville
translated from the French
by Harvey C. Mansfield & Delba Winthrop
University of Chicago Press, 722 pp.
$54.00 (cloth), $22.00 (paper)
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America arrives at an auspicious time. The French sociologist came initially to America to prepare a report on criminal justice, but he ultimately widened his purview to encompass the whole of American society. The result is a panoptic, if sometimes infuriatingly anecdotal, snapshot of the American scene, from the point of view of a friendly but still distinctly foreign perspective. Although hampered by a lack of data and a sometimes grandiloquent prose style, Tocqueville has nevertheless made an intriguing contribution to the gathering literature on the cultural and economic roots of the stunning election result.