Democracy in One Book or Less

How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think

by David Litt

On Sale: 06/16/2020

Democracy in One Book or Less

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Democracy in One Book or Less

How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think

by David Litt

On Sale: 06/16/2020


About the Book

Bill Bryson meets Thomas Frank in the true story of how power-hungry politicians broke American democracy — and why fixing it is easier than you think —from the New York Times bestselling author of Thanks, Obama

Here’s something true for almost every American. The democracy you live in today is different – completely different – than the democracy you were born into.

Since 1980, the number of Americans legally barred from voting has more than doubled. Since the 1990s, your odds of living in a competitive Congressional district have fallen by more than half. In the twenty-first century alone, the amount of money spent on Washington lobbying has increased by more than 100 percent. Meanwhile, new rules in Congress make passing new bills nearly impossible, no matter how popular or bipartisan they are. 

No wonder it feels like our representatives have stopped representing us. Thanks to changes you never agreed to, and that you probably don’t even know about, your slice of power – your say in how your country is run – is smaller than it’s ever been.

How did this happen? And how can we fix it before it’s too late? That’s what former Obama speechwriter David Litt set out to answer. 

Poking into forgotten corners of history, Litt tells the true story of how the world’s greatest experiment in democracy went awry. Translating political science into plain English, he explains how our system of government really works. Searching for solutions, he speaks to experts, office-holders, and activists nationwide.  

He also tries to crash a party at Mitch McConnell’s former frat house. It goes poorly.

But Democracy in One Book or Less is more than just an engaging narrative. Litt provides a to-do list of meaningful, practical changes – a blueprint for restoring the balance of power in America before it’s too late. 

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Hilarious and incisive. If you want to understand what happened to America and how to change it, Democracy in One Book or Less will make you laugh and think, all at the same time.” - David Axelrod, former senior advisor to Barack Obama and author of Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

“You think you know about politics and the motivations and machinations of Washington—and then you read this book. A wildly entertaining and informative journey that peels back the curtain on how the Beltway functions, David Litt’s latest is a must-read for anyone who can’t look away from the ‘what’ of the news and wants to understand the ‘why.’” - Amie Parnes, co-author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign

“If you want to understand how our government really works without having a panic attack or a migraine, read this book. The way David tells stories about politics is funny, informative, and, most important, hopeful. David Litt dares to remain inspired, and that is what the conversation around politics needs most.” - Ilana Glazer, co-creator and co-star of Broad City

“I’m so relieved to have this book at this moment in our political climate, a guide to our democracy when we so desperately need one.” - Abbi Jacobson, co-creator and co-star of Broad City and author of I Might Regret This

“David Litt’s book is equal parts how-to, historical, and hilarious as he takes us through the trials and travails of how the electorate and democracy in general works—and sometimes doesn’t—yet still lovingly shows us that it’s worth it all the same. A warm, pithy, and inspiring read.” - Keegan-Michael Key

“I always look forward to David Litt’s fiercely intelligent and funny take on the current state of things. If ever there was a time we needed a hilarious and thought-provoking look at how our democracy got to this point—and how we can save it—it’s now!” - Billy Eichner

Democracy in One Book or Less is by turns funny and illuminating. Litt combines his trademark humor and witty writing with an urgent call to fix American democracy. It’s a tragicomedy that makes you a better citizen while you laugh and shake your head in disbelief at our broken system.” - Brian Klaas, assistant professor of global politics at University College London and columnist for the Washington Post

“A pleasure to read, even in its darkest moments, and refreshingly optimistic about the future of the republic.” - Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062879363
  • ISBN 10: 0062879367
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 06/16/2020
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price:35.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
  • BISAC2 : POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
  • BISAC3 : HUMOR / Topic / Political

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