"Ordinary People, Extraordinary Elections: A Memoir of International Democracy Builders is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre and serves as the second installment in the Ordinary People Trilogy. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Lois Ann Nicolai. Set during the fall of communism and the immediate aftermath, the book recalls the author’s time working in former Soviet Bloc countries to establish democratically elected leadership. Including accounts from ten of the author's colleagues who participated in the process in various countries, the book gives an account of the rise of democracy in the late 20th century.

 

This was one of the most fascinating books I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for this site, covering in detail an aspect of 20th-century European history that often gets neglected despite its clear and important relevance to modern-day politics. The stories of the people of the former Soviet Bloc tentatively stepping out from the shadow of communism and toward their first democratic elections in a lifetime – and sometimes their first-ever – are beautifully told in this memoir which celebrates not just democracy but the people who participate in it. Lois Ann Nicolai’s first-hand accounting of the struggles and fears surrounding these changes across several nations is heartfelt but constantly underpinned by the factual setting. It manages to emphasize the emotional aspect of the regime change without ever straying into the brand of romanticism that would devalue Ordinary People, Extraordinary Elections as an important educational tool in the discussion about international politics and civics."

 

Review Rating: 5 Stars 

K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite 

LOIS ANN NICOLAI

A Lifelong Citizen Activist