Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

By Condoleezza Rice.

From the former secretary of state and bestselling author — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

“This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work…Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.” —The New York Times
From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has served on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.

In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy’s challenges into perspective.

When the United States was founded, it was the only attempt at self-government in the world. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Using America’s long struggle as a template, Rice draws lessons for democracy around the world — from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, to Kenya, Colombia, and the Middle East. She finds that no transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backward. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right. But, Rice argues, that does not mean they should not try. While the ideal conditions for democracy are well known in academia, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones.

These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by governments today. The pursuit of democracy is a continuing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing authoritarian regimes, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming mature democracies to better live up to their ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

By Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin. A man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he did not commit describes how he became a victim of a flawed legal system, recounting the years he shared with fellow inmates who were eventually executed before his exoneration.

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The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with my Heroes

By Rick Bass. A transformative journey written in gratitude to the award-winning author’s mentors describes his midlife attempt to recapture the passions of his youth, an effort marked by encounters with famous contemporaries and a variety of colorful mishaps.

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Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings

By Michelle Knight. A memoir about healing and resilience shares insights into the decade the author spent as a captive as well as the resolve that has led her to become a volunteer and advocate for changes to prevent her experiences from happening to others.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis

By J. D. Vance. Shares the story of the author’s family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the collective demons of the past. Reprint. AB. K. LJ. PW.

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Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions

By David Attenborough.

“In 1954, David Attenborough, a young television presenter, was offered the opportunity of a lifetime–to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for the London Zoo’s collection, and to film the expedition for the BBC for a new show called Zoo Quest. This is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive treeporcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. Written with his trademark wit and charm, Adventures of a Young Naturalist is not just the story of a remarkable adventure, but of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world and taught us the importance of protecting it–and who is still doing so today”–

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I Found My Tribe: A Memoir

By Ruth Fitzmaurice.

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Educated: A Memoir

By Tara Westover. Traces the author’s experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family’s paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond.

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Heart Berries: A Memoir

By Terese Marie Mailhot.

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The Line Becomes a River

By Francisco Cantu. An award-winning writer and former agent for the U.S. Border Patrol describes his upbringing as the son of a park ranger and grandson of a Mexican immigrant, who, upon joining the Border Patrol, encountered the violence and political rhetoric that overshadows life for both migrants and the police.

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