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Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Hardcover – April 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); 1st American ed edition (April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670852694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374114404
  • ASIN: 0374114404
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To understand the current upsurge of nationalist tensions, Ignatieff ( The Needs of Strangers ) traveled through war-torn former Yugoslavia, then to reunited Germany, Ukraine, Quebec, Kurdistan and Northern Ireland. In a compelling mix of interviews, history, vivid impressions and sharp reportage, he argues that nationalism can be a constructive, welding force, but that, in its extreme, authoritarian form, it serves as a collective escape from reality, whose adherents, inhabiting a delusional realm of noble causes and tragic sacrifice, strait jacket themselves and other groups in the fiction of an irreducible ethnic identity. Ignatieff includes a firsthand look inside a Kurdish guerrilla camp in northern Iraq, a meeting with a neo-Nazi skinhead in Leipzig, an interview with octogenarian Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas (author of Conversations With Stalin ) and encounters with Cree Indians of northern Canada who, adding their voices to the separatist chorus of French-speaking Quebecois, are demanding self-determination in an effort to stave off encroaching hydroelectric development. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is an immensely impressive meditation on nationalism in the post-Cold War era. Ignatieff, a journalist and author of both fiction and nonfiction works, demonstrates a sublime understanding of the histories and politics of Croatia and Serbia, Germany, Ukraine, Quebec, Kurdistan, and Northern Ireland as he probes the origins and manifestations of nationalism in these disparate settings. In moving prose that is both powerful and subtle, Ignatieff introduces readers to the intellectual origins of modern nationalism as well as the often brutal results. While this book may lack some of the conceptual dimensions of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Pandaemonium ( LJ 5/1/93) or William Pfaff's The Wrath of Nations: Civilization and the Fury of Nationalism ( LJ 11/15/93), it is nonetheless a remarkable work.
- Joseph P. Parsons, Columbia Coll., Chicago
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By P. Bjel on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
First published in 1993, Michael Ignatieff's work focuses on nationalism in the post-Cold War world and identifies a crucial trend that is still encompassing every continent: where new nation-states are being forged and born, nationalism is the driving force, the backbone of this trend. It is far from being outdated or irrelevant in any way, and although nationalism brings identity and belonging, Ignatieff argues, it also is a harbinger of bloodshed. To demonstrate, he has taken a personal journey throughout the world and homed in on six separate nations in which nationalism is an issue, perhaps a rampant one. Each of these six case studies is a detailed chapter, a portrait of nationalism in practice. To use Ignatieff's own definition: "As a political doctrine, nationalism is the belief that the world's peoples are divided into nations, and that each of these nations has the right of self-determination, either as self-governing units within existing nation states or as nation states of their own" (p. 3). Culturally, nationalism provides men and women "with their primary form of belonging" (Ibid.). Morally, it can serve to be an "ethic of heroic sacrifice, justifying the use of violence in the defense of one's nation against enemies, internal or external" (Ibid.).
In his Introduction, Ignatieff identifies two types of nationalism: (1) Civic nationalism, in which the predominant belief is that all those within a nation who subscribe to the nation's political creed should be its citizens; and (2) Ethnic nationalism, in contrast, holds to the idea that belonging and attachment to a nation is inherited, not chosen; "It is the national community which defines the individual, not the individuals who define the national community" (p. 5).
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ignatieff makes a clear difference between the ethnic and civic nationalisms. While praising the latter, the author explains the roots and the consequences of the politics of ethnicity and belonging. He rightly points out that ethnic nationalism is based on division, while civic nationalism is based on the union of different peoples (such as the case in the United States). But what Ignatieff fails to realize is that civic nationalism can be as dangerous, cruel and vicious as ethnic nationalism. Another weakness of the book is that its six examples, except Kurdistan, reflect conspicuously the purely European views and practices of nationalism. It is true that "nationalism" as a political ideology was developed by the German romantics, but the essence of nationalism has its roots since times immemorial. Finally, the book contains a couple of factual mistakes: Iranian Air Force does not have Mirages!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
It has been awhile since I have read this book so I will be unable to give too many details. The one thing I remember is the clarity with which Ignatieff writes and the myths he is able to dispel about some of these troubled countries. Despite the depth of the topic I believe that the book is accessable to the researcher and lay reader alike. His easy writing style makes this an easy book to sit down and enjoy. It was the first one that I had read by Ignatieff but I enjoyed it so much that I went on to read both his other ones.(The Needs of Strangers and The Warriors Code) This one is indeed a rare find. A book that has depth of topic yet easily understandable. An important read for anyone who is even remotely interested in these countries or the impact of modern day nationalism.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
There is nothing but good that can be said about a theorist who takes arguably the six worse cases in modern statecraft and weaves a theory around them that is so convincing that even the breathe of those seasoned in both international relations theory, and international affairs, is simply taken away.

No wonder this book is an international best seller. Mr. Michael Ignatieff is not just an intrepid virtuoso journalist, but he is also a "theorogician:" that is, a theorist and a magician all rolled into one, who lives and writes with the passion and the skills of a poet. He is a "theorogician of nationhood" who turns reality into theories like a magician pulls rabbits out of hats; only this book is no sleight of hand trick: It is the real deal. Never before in a book on international relations has so much theory been packed in such a neat and economical package. For that alone the book gets ten stars.

Here he dissects and deconstructs, the concept of nationalism (the essence of statehood and so much that is seen as modern statecraft) down to its bare essences. Not surprisingly, at root what he finds is mirrored in the bicameral Freudian brain: a two-part psychological stucture with a reptilian more primitive brain riding herd over (but calling the shots from well below the moral water line) the more sensible idealistic brain in the neocortex. In international affairs, this author tells us that this piggy-back two-part mental architecture is a generalizable affair best expressed in the form of a concept called nationalism. Nationalism is primarily about identity and belonging.
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