April 7, 2016

Birth of a Nation(s): "Democracy" by Papadatos et al.



I picked this up off the shelf because I liked the previous work by the authors, “Logicomix”. I liked that one so much I went out and bought a book of Wittgenstein and then also of Bertrand Russel. I actually read the Russel, maybe I’ll get to the Ludwig.

So reading this was basically in comparison to that book, and in comparison, this one suffers a bit. The authors’ thing is graphic history, and it works to a point. My guess is that this one is not as effective because though there is an interesting story to tell, there are fewer points of reference for me as a modern reader and there are fewer primary texts for the authors to draw on. They also insert a fictional character as the vehicle for they story they are telling, so that the both of democracy has some eyes looking at it and the reader can relate to that person.

I’m not sure if it works and it implies a linearity to the development of democracy that might not be true. Overall, the book could compliment a high school civics class as a way to lighten the mood and engage the students, but it isn’t history in the terms of this is what happened (if even that is history at all either).