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Practicing Democracy: Elections and Political Culture in Imperial Germany Paperback – April 10, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0691048543 ISBN-10: 0691048541

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691048541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691048543
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An exciting and valuable addition to the historiography of modern Germany."--Choice

"Margaret Lavinia Anderson's study of electoral practices in imperial Germany provides the most compelling assault to date on the idea that the German political system encouraged authoritarian attitudes, values, and political practices. . . . This is a powerful, challenging piece of scholarship. . . .[It] mobilizes a breathtaking arsenal of sources and a radiating presentation makes it as readable as it is enlightening. . . . This book is, in all events, a major achievement."--Roger Chickering, American Historical Review

"One has to be somewhat in awe of Professor Anderson's wide reading, trenchant prose, keen eye, and nose for a good argument. This book is exemplary for how history ought to be written. The author is in command of a vast body of material, presented economically with a sensitivity to significant detail, and it is marshalled behind original, clearly conceived arguments that frequently defy conventional assumptions. The result is not only the best book yet written on German Reichstag elections and political culture before 1918. It is also a key work on the history of modern Europe, and on electoral democracy in the industrial era."--Brett Fairbarin, German History

"Although the Weimar Republic may have been the first German democratic state, it was not, Margaret Lavinia Anderson shows in Practicing Democracy, Germany's first experience of democracy. Anderson argues that the interplay among the popular experience, institutional structure, and the political practice of universal male suffrage in Reichstag elections paradoxically produced a political culture of democracy in the nondemocratic imperial German state. Anderson's explanation of [this] paradox has important implications not only for German history, but also for recent political science literature on the transition to democracy. [Anderson's book] is theoretically startling, persuasively argued, richly detailed, and a pleasure to read."--Andrew Zimmerman, German Studies Review

From the Inside Flap

"The very best, most detailed and most comprehensible picture of political life in Imperial Germany available in any language. It marks a new stage in the development of our knowledge about the practice and culture of popular politics in the nineteenth century--not just in Germany, but in the entire European and North American world."--Jonathan Sperber, University of Missouri

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most important books written on political culture in Imperial Germany. Anderson skillfully demonstrates that this era contained a vibrant culture of political contestation and democratic spirit. Despite the authoritarian aspects of the Imperial German government and constitution, Germans did not blindly follow the lead of entrenched elites.
In addition to its many contributions to academic debates in modern German history, _Practicing Democracy_ is a lively, well-written book, with wonderful anecdotes and engaging prose. It would be stimulating even for those with only an amateur interest in history.
The recent U.S. election debacle also adds saliency to what Anderson has to say. Much of her material is drawn from the records of election challenges, and offers insights into the difficult process of conducting free and fair elections, while also pointing out that ideas of election fairness are culturally conditioned.
As a historian of Germany and a lover of books and politics, I give this book my highest recommendation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is broadly synthetic, deeply though implicitly historiographical, and deliciously sublime. I've read it now twice and though it may occasionally flag under the impressive crush of its voluminously well-documented research, the clarity of its ambition provides much worth reading and thinking about.
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