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Book Launch

Book Launch | Forged Through Fire: War, Peace, and the Democratic Bargain

03/29 Wednesday | 1pm

The Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU invites you to join us for the book launch of John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth’s Forged Through Fire: War, Peace, and the Democratic Bargain. The authors will be in discussion with Daniel Kevles and Melissa Schwartzberg.

Peace, many would agree, is a goal that democratic nations should strive to achieve. But is democracy, in fact, dependent on war to survive? Having spent their celebrated careers exploring this question, John Ferejohn and Frances McCall Rosenbluth’s Forged Through Fire trace the surprising ways in which governments have mobilized armies since antiquity, discovering that our modern form of democracy not only evolved in a brutally competitive environment but also quickly disintegrated when the powerful elite no longer needed their citizenry to defend against existential threats.

Like Francis Fukuyama and Jared Diamond’s most acclaimed works, Forged Through Fire reflects on the modern world, where the “tug of war” between the powerful and the powerless continues to play out in profound ways. With American democracy’s flanks now exposed, this urgent examination explores the conditions under which war has promoted one of the most cherished human inventions: a government of the people, by the people, for the people.


John Ferejohn is Samuel Tilden Professor of Law at New York University. His primary areas of scholarly interest are political theory and the study of political institutions and behavior. His current research focuses on Congress, constitutional adjudication in the United States and Europe as well as separation of powers.

Frances McCall Rosenbluth is Damon Wells Professor of Political Science at Yale University. A comparative political economist with interests in war and constitutions, Japanese politics and political economy, and the political economy of gender, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Daniel Kevles is Stanley Woodward Professor Emeritus of History, History of Medicine, and American Studies at Yale University. His research and writings encompass the interplay of science, technology, and society past and present. He is the author of Inventing America: A History of the United States, In the Name of Eugenics, and The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America, among other works.

Melissa Schwartzberg is Professor of Politics at New York University and currently a Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at Princeton’s Center for Human Values. A specialist in political theory, her primary research interests are in the historical origins and normative logic of democratic institutions, and especially ancient Greece. She is the author of Democracy and Legal Change, and Counting the Many: The Origins and Limits of the Supermajority Rule. 

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