When it was first published last year, Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop’s new translation of Democracy in America was lauded in all quarters as the finest and most definitive edition of Tocqueville’s classic thus far–complete with the most faithful and readable translation to date, impeccable annotations of unfamiliar references, and a masterful introduction placing the work and its author in the broader contexts of political philosophy and statesmanship. Mansfield and Winthrop’s astonishing efforts have not only captured the elegance, subtlety, and profundity of Tocqueville’s original, but also give us some sense of how very essential this masterpiece continues to be.
“The best edition of the best book on America. . . . What we need, here at the beginning of the century, is a fresh examination–one that begins from Tocqueville’s own concerns and not from our desire to use him for our political battles. Mansfield and Winthrop . . . have contributed immeasurably to that task by providing hundreds of notes identifying events, allusions, and names that are no longer familiar, and by providing an accurate and readable translation of ‘Democracy in America’, one far superior to the old editions.”–Daniel J. Mahoney, Weekly Standard
“The editors have written more than a mere introduction; they have written in fact a small book, a remarkably comprehensive and yet succinct study of Tocqueville’s political thought. . . . Mansfield and Winthrop have made a remarkably comprehensive and tightly argued case for Tocqueville as the greatest political theorist of democracy, a theorist who is just as relevant today as he was in the nineteenth century.”–Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books
“It wouldbe difficult to think of a greater service to the study of Tocqueville than the one performed by Mansfield and Winthrop in their impeccable new edition and translation of ‘Democracy in America’. . . . The publisher is justified in claiming that this version will henceforth be seen as the ‘authoritative’ edition in English.”–Choice
“The Mansfield-Winthrop work will henceforth be the preferred English version of ‘Democracy in America’ not only because of the superior translation and critical apparatus, but also because of its long and masterly introductory essay, itself an important contribution to the literature on Tocqueville.”-Roger Kimball, The New Criterion
“If Tocqueville is an indispensable guide to understanding the American experience, Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop are indispensable guides to Tocqueville himself. In the introduction to their fresh and limpid translation of ‘Democracy in America’–what will surely be the definitive translation for some time to come–they offer a helpful summary of Tocqueville’s philosophical and political thought.”–Thomas Pavel, Wall Street Journal
” ‘Democracy in America’ will continue to be read with profit as long as the United States survives as a republic and, indeed, as long as democracy endures. It deserves faithful translators, careful expositors and insightful commentators. In Mansfield and Winthrop it has found them.”–Robert P. George, Times Literary Supplement
“A major new translation. . . . Tocqueville’s insights confirm his brilliance and remind us that many features of national character are virtually indestructible.”-Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek
“This will be the English translation of Tocqueville for a long time, and it has theadditional bonus that the introduction is as succinct an introduction to Tocqueville, or at least to the conservative view of him and his achievement, as one can find.”–Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his works Democracy in America (appearing […] More about Alexis de Tocqueville.
Bruce Frohnen is a Senior Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal and Professor of Law at Ohio […] More about Bruce Frohnen.