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By Natan Sharansky - The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror [Paperback]

Natan Sharansky
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S.; New Ed edition (15 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000M8MGRK
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
THESE ARE THE WORDS of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, spoken to a joint session of the United States Congress in the summer of 2003. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and perspicacious work 24 May 2005
Many of us remember Anatoly/Natan Sharansky, who suffered under the Soviet system for his advocacy of freedom. After American presidents Carter and Reagan pressed his case, Mr. Sharansky was finally released by the KGB, and allowed to emigrate to Israel. Having experienced living in a "fear state," where people are forced to support a system that oppresses them, he understands the effects that such a system has, and the power that can be unleashed when it is overthrown.
In this book, Mr. Sharansky shows how tyrannical systems of government are never good governments with which the West can safely interact, but that they create instability and terror, both within their borders and without. He makes the point that the thinkers in the West must come to realize that there is a world of difference between free societies and fear societies, and that to make a peaceful world, the West must make the call for freedom a cornerstone of its foreign relations.
This is a fascinating and perspicacious work, and in it Mr. Sharansky makes a very convincing argument that the West must press for freedom around the globe. He is clear that many governments are far from perfect, but that when a government recognizes basic freedoms, it can and will move towards more freedom and more peaceful relations with the rest of the world. Overall, I found this book to be enlightening and totally convincing, and am quite sure that it reflects a good deal of thinking within the Bush White House.
So if you want to read a fascinating and thought-provoking book, then you must read this book. Also, if you want to understand an underlying thrust of the Bush administrations foreign strategy, then you must read this book. I give it my highest recommendations!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The case for democracy 29 Jan 2005
By "abdce"
Sharansky argues that the best weapon against tyranny is the creation of free societies. He argues that the West can and should intervene, using the tactic of linkage. If a tyrannical regime (presiding over a "fear" society) wants to trade with free societies, such trade must be linked to them changing their human rights record: the population must be able to express their views freely without fear of reprisal.
The most uplifting aspect of the book is Sharansky's narration of the collapse of the soviet union. The most depressing aspect is the hash that he considers everyone - Europe, the US, successive Israeli governments - has made of moving towards a separate Palestinian state. I was feelling quite optimistic about the role of the security fence in removing terrorist violence, but he reminded me that leaving the Palestinian regime to continue as a "fear society" condemns its people to more years of poverty, doublethink, and propaganda.
He makes no connection to the micro-level, but I think his message applies there to. Just as a free, democratic society functions better than a fear-filled dictatorship, which inevitably carries the seeds of its eventual implosion, so a family with authoritarian parents is doomed to disaster as the children defect to freer climes as soon as they have the physical and mental power.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's behind this "Freedom" mantra? 30 Sep 2005
If you want to get a clear and easy to understand explanation of why many Americans use freedoma and democracy in often interchangable roles, read this book. I'm not talking about the highly educated elite, I'm talking about the middle of the road person who experiences, on a daily basis, what it means to be truly free.
My favorite paragraph is when the author discusses how the elite in a free society start to lose perspective about what is truly totalitarian and what is not. The line between a free society and a "fear" society is blured in the elitest mind so that they end up supporting leaders like Castro, Hussein, and others in the guise of what's "right."
Great and easy read for everyone.
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Natan Sharansky knows more about resisting tyranny than most, having been incarcerated in a prison of one of history's greatest tyrannies-the Soviet Union, as he illustrated in his incredible memoirs Fear No Evil: The Classic Memoir of One Man's Triumph over a Police State

In this book he puts under the microscope the totalitarian states of the world, dissecting the inner workings of fear societies.

Sharansky contrasts fear societies with free societies. The profound moral difference between a free society and a fear society, as Sharansky shows us, is that people in free societies can publicly express their own ideas and persuade people to accept these ideas as well.
Sharansky points out that "moral clarity provides us with a place to stand, a reference point from where to leverage our talents, energies and ideas to create a better world. Without moral clarity, without a referewnce point, those same talents, ideas and energies are just as likely to do harm as good...A world without moral clarity is a world in which dictators speak of human rights even as they kill thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people. It is a world in which the only democracy in the Middle East is percieved as the greatest violator of human rights in the world. It is a world in which a human rights conference against racism, such as the one that took place in Durban, South Africa a few years ago, can be turned into a carnival of hate".

Sharansky reminds us that there has never been a war between two democracies. He attacks those who believe that democracy cannot work in certain countries, pointing out that the same was said about Germany and Japan during and just after the Second World War.
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