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Defending Democracy

, 352 pages

3 line drawings

February 2005



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Defending Democracy

Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe

Winner, Best Book on European Politics, 2005, European Politics and Society Section, American Political Science Association

How does a democracy deal with threats to its stability and continued existence when those threats come from political parties that play the democratic game? In Defending Democracy, political scientist Giovanni Capoccia studies key European nations between World Wars I and II which survived such democratic crises.

A comprehensive and thoughtful historical analysis of the democracies of interwar Europe, Defending Democracy provides a unique perspective on the many lessons to be learned from their successes and failures. With this exclusively empirical investigative approach, Capoccia develops a methodology for analyzing contemporary democracies—such as Algeria, Turkey, Israel, and others—where similar political conditions are present. Given the rise of terrorism and the persistence of extremism in both established and new democracies today, continued research and dialogue on the defense of democracy are necessary for its preservation.

Giovanni Capoccia is a professor of comparative politics at the University of Oxford.

"A well-crafted study that sheds additional light on how and why democracy was not altogether submerged in the troubled interwar period."

" Defending Democracy is likely to spark fruitful discussion."

"Capoccia's exploration is both informative and provocative... would equally benefit students and scholars of democratic government, interwar Europe and the survival and breakdown of democratic regimes."

"Elegant, comprehensive, and innovative book... Well worth a careful read."

"Giovanni Capoccia develops a rigorously tested argument about elite strategies of responding to extremism by focusing on interwar Europe."

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