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Publisher's Summary

Donald Trump, Silvio Berlusconi, Marine Le Pen, Hugo Chávez - populists are on the rise across the globe. But what exactly is populism? Should everyone who criticizes Wall Street or Washington be called a populist? What precisely is the difference between right-wing and left-wing populism? Does populism bring government closer to the people or is it a threat to democracy? Who are "the people" anyway and who can speak in their name? These questions have never been more pressing.
In this groundbreaking volume, Jan-Werner Müller argues that at populism's core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. Müller also shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people: if populists have enough power, they will end up creating an authoritarian state that excludes all those not considered part of the proper "people." The book proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists and, in particular, how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority" or "the real people."
Analytical, accessible, and provocative, What Is Populism? is grounded in history and draws on examples from Latin America, Europe, and the United States to define the characteristics of populism and the deeper causes of its electoral successes in our time.
©2016 Jan-Werner Müller (P)2017 Post Hypnotic Press, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Caroline Pufalt on 06-24-17


Timely, concise and clear. Elements of populism can be found in many political movements. But as the author shows, put them all together and the results can be tragic and a threat to democracy. Well written and a good narrator

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By AudioBook Reviewer on 07-20-17

a political theory that is well supported

What is Populism is a well-argued opinion that presents the theory of populism and its connection to pluralism. The argument is supported through the use of world history, both past and recent, as well as the misconceptions held by society – specifically voters (aka “The People”). This audiobook was well written, presented the argument well and was supported by facts although also vague about some aspects. Drawing upon the recent Presidential campaigns, Jan-Werner Muller demonstrates how populists claim to identify with the people and rejects everyone else. Ultimately, this is a political theory that is well supported but not necessarily for everyone.

The narrator, Simon Vance performed the audiobook well, he was clear and concise in his performance. His voice was steady and strong; there were no indications of whether he supported the book’s theories or not, he was very professional.

There were no issues with the audio quality or production of this book.

Please note, that as a listener of audiobooks I enjoy fiction and some non-fiction books. While this was not an audiobook I would normally have agreed to listen to, I did find it interesting and informative.

Audiobook was purchased for review by the publisher.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Panji on 10-30-17

Excellent Introduction to Populism

While the term 'populist' doesn't have a proper definition yet in academia Muller still provides insight on populism by sharing characteristics that are shared by populist movements around the world. He talks about the leaders, the political system, the populist voter base, and more to give the reader a good introduction as to why populists rise and why people vote for them. It's a balanced book that also points to faults at the modern democracy and gives suggestions as to how to prevent populism.

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