In The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure, political scientist Yascha Mounk asks the most far-reaching political question of our age: can democracies that are ethnically diverse survive? Mounk calls it “the great experiment” because, although democracies throughout the world are becoming more ethnically diverse, the only example of such a democracy that has sustained itself for a significant period of time is the United States—and American democracy itself is in trouble. Potential solutions to this problem are limited, for reasons which Mounk baldly and correctly states: Turning back the clock is not an option, because “effective ways to halt the great experiment are virtually certain to be morally intolerable.” Deporting hundreds of thousands, let alone millions of citizens is a non-starter. Countries must work with the diversity they already have.

There is much to admire about The Great Experiment, starting with the book’s readability. Mounk writes beautifully. A German-born American citizen who teaches international affairs at the Johns Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., he has wide-ranging knowledge about the experiences of diverse nations throughout history and across the globe. He uses many narrative illustrations drawn from history and personal experiences.

Subscribe for access This article is reserved for subscribers.