Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000

Oxford University Press
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Democracy in Europe has been a recent phenomenon. Only in the wake of World War II were democratic frameworks secured, and, even then, it was decades before democracy truly blanketed the continent. Neither given nor granted, democracy requires conflict, often violent confrontations, and challenges to the established political order. In Europe, Geoff Eley convincingly shows, democracy did not evolve organically out of a natural consensus, the achievement of prosperity, or the negative cement of the Cold War. Rather, it was painstakingly crafted, continually expanded, and doggedly defended by varying constellations of socialist, feminist, Communist, and other radical movements that originally blossomed in the later nineteenth century. Parties of the Left championed democracy in the revolutionary crisis after World War I, salvaged it against the threat of fascism, and renewed its growth after 1945. They organized civil societies rooted in egalitarian ideals which came to form the very fiber of Europe's current democratic traditions. The trajectories of European democracy and the history of the European Left are thus inextricably bound together. Geoff Eley has given us the first truly comprehensive history of the European Left--its successes and failures; its high watermarks and its low tides; its accomplishments, insufficiencies, and excesses; and, most importantly, its formative, lasting influence on the European political landscape. At a time when the Left's influence and legitimacy are frequently called into question, Forging Democracy passionately upholds its vital contribution.
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About the author

Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author and editor of many books on British and German history, including Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change after Bismarck.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 11, 2002
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Pages
720
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ISBN
9780198021407
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Western
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
 
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Praise for A Distant Mirror
 
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”—The New York Review of Books
 
“A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary

NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
"Eley brilliantly probes transformations in the historians' craft over the past four decades. I found A Crooked Line engrossing, insightful, and inspiring."
--Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic

"A Crooked Line brilliantly captures the most significant shifts in the landscape of historical scholarship that have occurred in the last four decades. Part personal history, part insightful analysis of key methodological and theoretical historiographical tendencies since the late 1960s, always thoughtful and provocative, Eley's book shows us why history matters to him and why it should also matter to us."
--Robert Moeller, University of California, Irvine

"Part genealogy, part diagnosis, part memoir, Eley's account of the histories of social and cultural history is a tour de force."
--Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois

"Eley's reflections on the changing landscape of academic history in the last forty years will interest and benefit all students of the discipline. Both a native informant and an analyst in this account, Eley combines the two roles superbly to produce one of most engaging and compelling narratives of the recent history of History."
--Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Provincializing Europe

Using his own intellectual biography as a narrative device, Geoff Eley tracks the evolution of historical understanding in our time from social history through the so-called "cultural turn," and back again to a broad history of society.

A gifted writer, Eley carefully winnows unique experiences from the universal, and uses the interplay of the two to draw the reader toward an organic understanding of how historical thinking (particularly the work of European historians) has evolved under the influence of new ideas. His work situates history within History, and offers students, scholars, and general readers alike a richly detailed, readable guide to the enduring value of historical ideas.


Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

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