, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 295–296 | Cite as

William A. Galston, Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. 158 pp. $30.00. ISBN: 978-0300228922
  • Laura Ymayo TartakoffEmail author
Book Review

William Galston’s book title – Anti-Pluralism – and dedication – “To Václav Havel and Liu Xiaobo, who never lost hope” – captured me from the start. After all, Liu, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner not allowed by the Chinese government to receive the award, died at 61 in state custody in 2017. Czech playwright and statesman, Havel, once a political prisoner himself, wrote that “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”

Anti-Pluralism certainly makes sense. It is a concise substantial work on populism, whether political, social, or economic, right or left, national or international, in theory or in practice. Considering populism as a threat to liberal democracy, Galston inevitably tackles the meaning of the latter with precision. He defines terms and offers examples and explanations, echoing Robert Dahl’s On Democracy (2015) and Jan-Werner Muller’s What Is Populism?(2016). Galston...


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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