UP Week, Day 2: Let’s Talk about Politics

It’s Day 2 of University Press it and we’ll #TurnItUp with today’s politics theme. Whether you’re looking for something classical (say the Greek conception of democracy or the French Revolution) or something a bit more modern, we have three books for you!

As part of the Rutgers Classics series, Democracy Ancient and Modern (originally published in 1973), by M.I Finely offers a comparative analysis of Greek and modern conceptions of democracy. Putting the ancient Greeks in dialogue with their contemporary counterparts, it tackles some of the most pressing issues of our day, including public apathy, partisanship, consensus politics, distrust of professional politicians, and the limits of free speech.

Originally published in 1990, Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two Centuries Look Back on the French Revolution Eric Hobsbawn’s classic historiographic study explores the perception of the French Revolution over the past two centuries. He considers how and why different generations and political factions have recounted it in radically different ways: as proletarian or as bourgeois, as ephemeral or as world-changing, as enlightened progress or as violent anarchy.

For something a bit more contemporary, Emmy Award-winning journalist, playwright, and novelist Eric Burns poses the question, “What does it mean to be famous?” in his new book The Politics of Fame. It’s a provocative and entertaining look at the lives and afterlives of America’s most beloved celebrities, from Benjamin Franklin to Elvis Presley to Oprah Winfrey. It raises important questions about what celebrity worship reveals about the worshipers—and about the state of the nation itself.