Ten Evenings

Heather Cox Richardson

“More often than not, those articulating the nation’s true principles have been marginalized Americans who demanded the nation honor its founding promises. Their struggles have constantly renewed the country’s dedication to the principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Their fight for equality reveals the true nature of American democracy: it is, and has always been, a work in progress.”

Heather Cox Richardson, Democracy Awakening

Democracy Awakening is a vital and urgent call to action about the precarious state of American democracy, charting its historical challenges and current threats, from one of our era’s most important and insightful historians.

At a time when the very foundations of democracy seem under threat, the lessons of the past offer a roadmap for navigating a moment of political crisis. In Democracy Awakening, acclaimed historian Heather Cox Richardson delves into the tumultuous journey of American democracy, revealing how the roots of Donald Trump’s “authoritarian experiment” can be traced back through the earliest days of the republic. She examines the historical forces that have led to the current political climate, showing how modern conservatism has preyed upon a disaffected population, weaponizing language and promoting false history to consolidate power.

With remarkable clarity and the same accessible voice that brings millions of readers to her newsletter, Letters from an American, Richardson wrangles a chaotic news feed into a coherent story that singles out what we should pay attention to and what possible paths lie ahead. Her command of history and trademark plainspoken prose allow her to pivot effortlessly from the Founders to the abolitionists to Reconstruction to Nixon to the January 6 insurrection, highlighting the political legacies of the New Deal, the lingering fears of socialism, the death of the liberal consensus, and the birth of “movement conservatism.”

An essential read for anyone concerned about the state of America, Democracy Awakening is more than a history book; it’s a call to action. Richardson reminds us that democracy is not a static institution but a living, evolving process that requires constant vigilance and participation from all of us. This powerful testament to the resilience of democratic ideals shows how we, as a nation, can take the lessons of the past to address today’s challenges and secure a more just and equitable future.

Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College. She has written about the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the American West in award-winning books whose subjects stretch from the European settlement of the North American continent to the history of the Republican Party through the Trump administration. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Guardian, among other outlets. She is the cohost of the Vox podcast, Now & Then.

“An excellent primer for anyone who needs the important facts of the last 150 years of American history–and how they got us to the sorry place we inhabit today.”

THE GUARDIAN

Books

Copies of Democracy Awakening are available to purchase from White Whale Bookstore.

WHEN

October 28, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. ET

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WHERE

Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland)

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Upcoming Lectures

Anna Monardo

MAY 23

Liann Tsoukas and Rob Ruck

JUN 20

Colm Toibin

SEP 16

Pico Iyer

SEP 30