"Meticulous . . . [Diamond] gleaned that . . . the fate of democracy was not driven by events but by the passion of individual people."—The New York Times Book ReviewIn 1974, nearly three-quarters of all countries were dictatorships; today, more than half are democracies. Yet recent efforts to promote democracy have stumbled, and many democratic governments are faltering. In this sweeping vision for advancing freedom around the world, renowned social scientist Larry Diamond examines how and why democracy progresses. He demonstrates that the desire for democracy runs deep, even in very poor countries, and that seemingly entrenched regimes like Iran and China could become democracies within a generation. He also dissects the causes of the "democratic recession" in critical states, including the crime-infested oligarchy in Russia and the strong-armed populism of Venezuela. To spur a renewed democratic boom Diamond urges the United States to vigorously support good governance and free civic organizations. Only then will the spirit of democracy be secured.