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Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity [Paperback]

by Liah Greenfeld
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 14, 1993 0674603192 978-0674603196

Nationalism is a movement and a state of mind that brings together national identity, consciousness, and collectivities. It accomplished the great transformation from the old order to modernity; it placed imagination above production, distribution, and exchange; and it altered the nature of power over people and territories that shapes and directs the social and political world. A five-country study that spans five hundred years, this historically oriented work in sociology bids well to replace all previous works on the subject. The theme, simple yet complex, suggests that England was the front-runner, with its earliest sense of self-conscious nationalism and its pragmatic ways; it utilized existing institutions while transforming itself. The Americans followed, with no formed institutions to impede them. France, Germany, and Russia took the same, now marked, path, modifying nationalism in the process.

Nationalism is based on empirical data in four languages--legal documents; period dictionaries; memoirs; correspondence; literary works; theological, political, and philosophical writings; biographies; statistics; and histories. Nowhere else is the complex interaction of structural, cultural, and psychological factors so thoroughly explained. Nowhere else are concepts like identity, anomie, and elites brought so refreshingly to life.


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Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity + Nations and Nationalism, Second Edition (New Perspectives on the Past) + Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review

With great erudition, Ms. Greenfeld traces the rise of nationalism in five countries--England, France, Russia, Germany and the United States--through the prism of sociological history...This book is a great contribution to understanding nationalism's place in the world. (The Economist)

[A] comprehensive, erudite and highly illuminating book. (John Gray New York Times Book Review)

Greenfeld displays near-encyclopedic knowledge of the culture and history of various countries; her enterprise is not just impressive, it is heroic...In this age of specialization, it is refreshing to come across a new book that attempts "to understand the world in which we live." For having tackled an enterprise of such magnitude and complexity, the author deserves our admiration. (Walter Laqueur Washington Post Book World)

[An] exhilarating, ambitious, and thoughtful study...Greenfeld's analysis allows one to see just what is wrong with that strain of liberal thinking that views nationalism as a form of atavism. (Michael Ignatieff New Republic)

Liah Greenfeld has written a big book: a strong theoretical description and explanation of modern nationalism, a set of brilliant historical studies of its European versions, and an account, at once analytical and passionate, of how it sometimes turns out well and sometimes very badly. No one will write about nationalism again without starting here. (Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)

Review

Liah Greenfeld has written a big book: a strong theoretical description and explanation of modern nationalism, a set of brilliant historical studies of its European versions, and an account, at once analytical and passionate, of how it sometimes turns out well and sometimes very badly. No one will write about nationalism again without starting here.
--Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 596 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674603192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674603196
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called "one of the most original thinkers of the current period" and "the great historian of Nationalism," Liah Greenfeld is University Professor and Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology at Boston University, and Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She is the author of "Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience" (Harvard University Press, 2013) and other books about modern society and culture, including the ground-breaking "Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity" (Harvard University Press, 1992) and "The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth" (Harvard University Press, 2001; Donald Kagan Best Book in European History Prize). Greenfeld has been a recipient of the UAB Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award, fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, and grants from Mellon, Olin, Earhart, The National Council for Soviet & East European Research, and The German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2004, she delivered the Gellner Lecture at the London School of Economics on the subject of "Nationalism and the Mind," launching the research connecting her previous work on modern culture to a new perspective on mental illness.

In another life-before she moved with her parents from Russia to Israel-she tried her hand at being, first, a child-prodigy, playing violin on TV at the age of 7, and then a poet, receiving the Krasnodar Region's Second Prize for poetry (and a bust of Pushkin) at 16 and publishing a collection of poems, under a properly Russified alias in Komsomol'skaya Pravda.

Website: liahgreenfeld.com

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work on a critical subject November 21, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Professor Greenfeld has compiled an exhaustively researched series of "case studies" of the genesis of nationalist sentiment (England, France, Russia, Germany, and the United States). She puts forth very convincing arguments that (1) nationalism began in England, and spread to the European continent, (2) the self-loathing of segments of certain societies led to a transformation of their values, resulting in nationalism, and (3) that nationalism lay the basis for modernity. My only complaint, if it can be called that, is that she does not more extensively examine American nationalism. I highly, highly recommend this book for any student of nationalism.
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