“Democracy: A User’s Guide” by Joss Sheldon

Democracy: A User’s Guide

Joss Sheldon
Independently Published (2020)
ISBN 9781716792069
Reviewed by Mark T. Sneed for Reader Views (06/2021)

“Democracy: A User’s Guide” by Joss Sheldon is an incredibly straight forward guide and a book everyone living in a democracy should read.

I love the simplicity of this book. It is into four digestible sections. ‘The Brief History of Democracy,’ after the Introduction, is wonderful. Sheldon gives the history of the progress of democracy from its beginnings with primitive democracy to the present format. I like that the author begins the guide at the literal beginning of things. The lock step procedure and advancement of ideas is easy to understand. ‘Making Representative Democracy A Little More Representative’ is an especially well-crafted chapter.

There are parts of the reading that I thought I knew and would find more as a refresher, thinking I knew it all. The greatest thing about the guide is that inside there are parts of democracy that I (and have to believe others) were not familiar with and truly appreciated. The historical details in each section help move the idea of the beginnings of democracy to the more contemporary democracy of today. Again, I have to say that everyone needs to read this guide or at least have it at home to end arguments about democracy.

What I found unique about “Democracy A User’s Guide” is that it is written from an English perspective. English, as in British or Britain. As an American, it is interesting to read this idea of democracy and its guide from this viewpoint. Consider that.

The third section of the guide is by far the best, in my humble opinion. If you want to know the value of public service, then read ‘In the Public Service.’ It is brilliant. I love the fact that Sheldon explains the true value of public service and the eventual move away from that cornerstone of democracy. It says a lot about the deterioration of democracy. In that same section there is a discussion of the rise of the ‘Fourth Estate.’ Again, for those who hear these terms all the time, it is nice to see the origin of these political terms.

The last section of the book is about ‘Economic Democracy.’ There are a lot of terms here that you may not be familiar with. Anyone know what liquid democracy is? What about Sortition? The Fourth Estate? As an American it only behooves citizens to know what they are fighting for and who they should be fighting against.

Overall, “Democracy: A User’s Guide” by Joss Sheldon is highly recommended. Easily, 5-Stars!

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