The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville (Guest: Olivier Zunz)

Published December 1, 2022
Heartland’s Tim Benson is joined by Olivier Zunz, the James Madison Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia, to discuss his new book, The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville. They chat about Tocqueville’s dedication to achieving a new kind of democracy at the center of his life and work, why America remained central to his thought and actions throughout his life, and his fears that the democratic experiment might yet fail. They also discuss his harrowing family story, his commitment to abolitionism, and his attempts to apply the lessons of Democracy in America to French politics.

Show Notes

Commentary: Michael M. Rosen – “Citizen Tocqueville”

The Hedgehog Review: Jay Tolson – “Following Alexis de Tocqueville: A Conversation with Historian and Biographer Olivier Zunz”

Law & Liberty: Theodore Dalrymple – “The Life of Democracy’s Interpreter”

Library of America: “Olivier Zunz on Alexis de Tocqueville, ‘The Man Who Understood Democracy’”

Literary Review: Alan Ryan – “Oui, the People”

The New York Review of Books: Lynn Hunt – “‘A Great Democratic Revolution’”

Times Literary Supplement: Stephen W. Sawyer – “He chose democracy”

The Wall Street Journal: Barton Swaim – “‘The Man Who Understood Democracy’ Review: Tocqueville’s Dilemma”