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Anthony Arblaster first examines the history of both the theory and practice of democracy, and the fierce opposition it so often provoked. He finds that through most of history democracy meant what we now call ‘direct’ democracy – the people governing themselves directly through participation in the processes of decision-taking and policy-making. The representative type of democracy we are now familiar with was a relatively late arrival on the scene. Arblaster finds the core of the idea of democracy in the notion of popular power, and in the second part of the book he explores the meaning of this and the problem it involves. Drawing on the classical writings of Rousseau, Paine, and John Stuart Mill, he shows how wide the gap between their idea of a fully democratic society and the limited realities of the Western democracies of today. Democracy, he argues, remains a relevant ideal and a challenge to conventional political thinking. The first edition of Democracy was welcomed: From start to finish Arblaster’s book is stimulating and highly readable … Beginning students will find it engaging, and old hands will find it unsettling. It will awaken the incompetent many and worry the corrupt few. Susan Mendus, Times Higher Educational Supplement Arblaster’s book is general in scope, accessible to both students and the general reader, and written with admirable clarity … a good deal more lively and provocative that most standard texts … an ideal first book to place in the hands of a student embarking on the study of democracy. Peter Jones, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics) This revised and expanded second edition has been updated to take particular account of the collapse of European communism. Printed Pages: 127.