Elevate Difference

Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy: On Being an American Citizen

In this piece, Susan Griffin develops quite a substantial work by elaborating on tenants and beliefs behind "democracy" as a practice; she establishes a readable interpretation of democracy as it stands in today's world. Previously, Griffin presented A Chorus of Stones and What Her Body Thought; this third volume of what Griffin continues to term her "social autobiography" uniquely integrates the story of her life, diary entries of her own bouts and exposures to democratic moments of the past, and current events to create a tightly woven conversation that illuminates ideas of democracy.

Written in this form, Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy provides a fascinating journey of Griffin's life dealing with issues pertinent to democracy. Griffin shines a light on some well-known and some less popular past situations that influenced change in relevant ways. Each chapter delivers a substantial bulk of information, and the words easily flow from one topic to another. At times, points may be repeated to emphasize the importance of a specific public incident, person or personal experience.

Throughout this book, the author inspires the reader with her examples of democratic movement. She offers tastes of her experience and encourages readers to apply this knowledge to their own work with democracy. By the end of the book, the tempo speeds up. Diary citations are shorter and more quickly interspersed with current dilemmas in the American political administration. The question of "what does democracy look like now?" is not answered, but Griffin leaves the reader with a sense of needing to be involved.

With an outstanding bibliography, Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy delivers a powerful punch of emotion and action - rousing us to develop more conversation about and discovery of democracy on our own, like Griffin does.

Written by: Carolyn Espe, June 7th 2008

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