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Frank M. Bryan

  University of Chicago Press

Real Democracy
"I wish I had written this book. It is witty (about Vermont village life) and wise (about everything from Athenian democracy to the ecological fallacy). It deals with a phenomenon that deserves attention from every American concerned about the future of our polity. Town meetings are hardly the primary solution to what ails our democracy, but understanding how they work could help us design reforms on a larger canvas. Too few books are both fun and important, but this one is."
Robert D. Putnam, Harvard

"Real Democracy is a magnificent analysis of the New England town meeting. It shoudl be read again and again over the next hundred (indeed, the next thousand) years. Whether existing town meetings flourish and provide a model for the rest of the world or whether they lose their power and begin to wither, this book will provide the scholarly world's only basis for their systematic comparison in the future."
 -- Jane Mansbridge, Harvard

"Real Democracy  is an outstanding book that should be 'must reading' for any citizen concerned about the well-being of democracy in America and for all analysts interested in democratic practice. Bryan's book is a towering achievement, a product of a dedicated political scientist with a clear vision of the meaning of democracy and how best to assess its health and actions."
-- Richard Winters, Dartmouth

"[This] is the best book I have ever read on local government. It is, in unequal parts: careful consideration of democrtatic theory; exploration of a great range of germane empirical work; very rigorous, original quantitative research; vignette; personal diary; and handbook on engaging students in real social science. The writing, often in the first person, is direct and consistently engaging. The social science--especially in the construction of indexes to measure the phenomena under study--is creative and imaginative. And I have rarely seen the results of systematic quantitative research so clearly and accessibly explained."
Gerald Benjamin, SUNY, New Paltz for the Political Science Quarterly

"Frank Bryan has clearly produced the definitive text on New England town hall democracy. In time, the book may very well become a classic."
-- Anthony O'Halloran, University College Cork for Political Studies Review

"Frank Bryan, who writes tellingly and thoroughly about Vermont's 210 annual town meetings over three decades, concludes that 'town meetings come about as close to paragon status as reasonable people would agree is possible within the limits of human nature.'"
Robert I. Rotberg, Harvard for the Christian Science Monitor, reprinted in Participatory Democracy

"[Bryan's] remarkable comparative study of Vermont town meetings analyzes data about real democracy never before assembled. . . [His work will] challenge other scholars to venture beyond representative democracy and join him in the search for and understanding of the real democray that most modern-day political scientists have bypassed." 
-- G. Thomas Taylor, University of Maine for the American Political Science Review

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Political Science Quarterly
Political Studies Review
American Political Science  Review
The American Conservative
Boston Globe Feature Article Burlington Free Press Review
Public Opinion Quarterly
Burlington Free Press Feature (color version)
        (black/white version)
Christian Science Monitor Rutland Herald (color version)
        (black/white version)
Yankee Magazine Times Argus
Vermont Life UVM's The View
Brattleboro Reformer
Read an interview with the author
Vermont History
Chronicle of Higher Education
Library Journal Review Quarterly Journal of Speech

The Prof
Real Democracy