Over the last few years I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the books of Greenhaven Press. Created primarily for public libraries and high schools, I’ve found their Current Controversies and Opposing Viewpoints series to be great resources when it comes to essays and opinion pieces on Iran, Africa, Pakistan and Islam. When I came across one of their recent offerings Democracy: Global Viewpoints during one of my weekly library trips I grabbed it, optimistically thinking that I’d found yet another little gem from Greenhaven Press. Unfortunately, after finishing it late yesterday morning I’m sad to say this particular anthology from Greenhaven Press is a bit of a disappointment.
As you might remember from earlier posts of mine, each book in these series is divided into four or five chapters, each of which contain a collection of opinion pieces that address a common theme or topic. With Democracy: Global Viewpoints the chapters happen to be:
- Democracy and Government
- Democracy and Equality
- Democracy and Economics
- Democracy and International Relations
While a few of the opinion pieces I thought were arguably well-written, well-reasoned and insightful such as David Newman’s op-ed piece on Israel, Kay Seok’s essay on North Korea,(which makes me wanna read both Nothing to Envy and Defiant Failed State), and Joseph Nye’s call for the United States to take an active and evenhanded role in promoting democracy throughout the world, sadly the bulk of the articles in Democracy: Global Viewpoints seem at best merely mediocre with several nothing more than second-rate propaganda pieces plagued with partisan rhetoric and unsupported arguments. A number of these less than pleasing selections are poorly written, poorly translated, poorly edited and well, just too dang long. Making all this worse, more than a few of the essays are between five and seven years old, making them somewhat dated and probably should not have been included in this anthology. This leaves me thinking Tom Lansford’s efforts, when compared to that of previous series editor David Haugen are somewhat less than stellar.
I’ve encountered a number of great books from Greenhaven Press. Sadly, Democracy: Global Viewpoints is not one of them.