The scholar whose Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius was a finalist for National Book Award and won the PEN New England/Winship Award here turns to the young French sociologist and political analyst who penned the oracular Democracy in America. Leo Damrosch follows Alexis de Tocqueville and his friend Gustave de Beaumont on their nine-month journey through a young nation at a time of rapid change, painting a vivid picture of their experience in Jacksonian America.
"Leo Damrosch narrates [Tocqueville and Beaumont's] journey through salons and saloons, the beautiful Hudson River Valley and the trackless Wisconsin forest, clouds of merciless mosquitoes and flocks of gorgeous parrots.... The result is neither another biography of Tocqueville ... nor another study of Democracy in America, but rather a genial and colorful portrait, on a modest scale, of an astonishing young country and the likeable young man who first interpreted it to Europe."—Boston Globe
"A scintillating new book ... [by a] distinguished specialist of 18th-century literature at Harvard.... Damrosch contagiously enjoys himself, and happily enters into the enthusiasms of the two young Frenchmen, as they let the strange, loud, free, placeless society disturb and excite them."—The New Yorker