Ordinary People, Extraordinary Elections
Lois Ann Nicolai
9781098387600 $15.28 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Book 2 of Lois Ann Nicolai's memoir trilogy, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Elections: A Memoir of International Democracy Builders captures history in the making. It follows the life and times of Nicolai as she travels to developing European countries, helping the OSCE/PAE create new democracies.
Many insights into the challenges faced during these efforts are provided in a lively, personal inspection that follows Nicolai's adventures, encounters with other cultures and people, and her observations of social and political processes during her official role as an International Democratic Election Supervisor and observer.
The first book, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times: The Memoir of One Citizen Activist, focused on her political work as a nuclear disarmament activist.
This survey of her role as an OSCE supervisor includes thought-provoking inspections of the evolving political processes in new democracies. Nicolai interacts with government and people, faces corruption and obstacles to democratic process and her own freedom to move within these nations, and involves readers in learning about the foundations of social and political transformation.
Photos throughout the book personalize these experiences as Nicolai makes astute observations that educate readers about conflicting interpretations of democracy, nationalism, and other trends affecting the outcomes of elections and freedom: "It is horrible what has happened here. It is real madness, all in the name of "Nationalism." And for the first time since my initial assignment here in Kosovo in 2000, I am very pessimistic of real stability ever coming to the Balkans. The Nationalism is just too strong."
The blend of "you are here" inspections into social and political processes and the analysis that comes from a seasoned observer and participant makes for a story that is enlightening and personal, all at once.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Elections is especially recommended for library collections strong in politics, international trends, and memoirs that embrace world travel experiences. Discussion groups centering on democratic principles and their translation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, Republic of Georgia, and Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan will especially want to place this book high on their reading lists.
Its eye-opening, enlightening surveys provide the rare opportunity for better understanding not just from a reporter's eye, but from the efforts of an embedded professional who was active in overseeing and guiding the political evolution of nations.
Review Rating: 5 Stars
Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Editor & Reviewer, Donovan's Literary Services
Book Author: San Francisco Relocated