Democracy explains the rise of this form of government and how women and minorities struggled for and won democratic rights for themselves. In clear prose, author James Laxer relates the story of the replacement of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe by ostensibly democratic political systems. In some of these countries, he argues, democracy has flourished, while in others authoritarianism is on the rise. Showcasing examples from all over the world, the book examines the current status of democracy in both developed and developing nations. Throughout, Laxer demonstrates that democracy is about much more than the right to vote, warning readers that globalization and the widening gap between rich and poor threatens to weaken democracy and the vigor of democratic regimes -- even in countries where it has been long established. Only sustainable environmental policies and basic economic fairness, says Laxer, offer hope for democracy’s survival.