Viking has pre-empted Why Politics Fails, an “utterly compelling” debut trade book by Professor Ben Ansell from Oxford University.
Editor Connor Brown acquired world rights from Jack Ramm of Ramm Studios. The book will be published in hardback in spring 2023.
The book argues politics often falls into five “traps”: democracy, equality, solidarity, security and prosperity. The synopsis states: “Drawing on examples from Ancient Greece through Brexit and using his own award-winning research – on how democracy is more likely to thrive under high inequality, for example – Oxford professor Ben Ansell explains why the world is as it is and how we can make it better. Understanding the traps helps us escape or avoid them altogether, in ways small to large, ultimately showing how we can all thrive in an imperfect world.”
Ansell is professor of Comparative Democratic Institutions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Following a PhD at Harvard he taught at the University of Minnesota for several years, becoming a professor at Oxford in 2013 at the age of 35. He was made a fellow of the British Academy in 2018, among the youngest fellows at that time. His work has been widely covered in the media, including in the World Bank’s World Development Report, the New York Times, Economist, Times and on BBC Radio 4’s “Start the Week”. He is the principal investigator of the multi-million-pound European Rearch Council project “The Politics of Wealth Inequality”, co-editor of the most-cited journal in comparative politics, and has written three award-winning academic books, including From the Ballot to the Blackboard (CUP). This is his first book for a general audience.
Brown said: “In these divided and turbulent times, we need this book. The neat and deceptively simple structure of Why Politics Fails (following the five traps) is a great way in to a big topic. Ben tackles this subject with remarkable clarity and accessibility – it’s utterly compelling. It’s a privilege to be publishing Ben at Viking.”
Ansell added: “The questions that animate this book have been at the centre of my research for decades – why has politics failed in the past and what can we do better in the future? I’m so excited to take my findings to the widest possible audience and feel delighted to have such an illustrious partner as Viking in helping me to do so."
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