5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A scholarly overview of an underrated and misunderstood political system,
This review is from: Monarchies 1000-2000 (Reaktion Books - Globalities) (Hardcover)
This book is, despite its flaws, a fresh breeze in an area of debate which is congested with self-proclaimed experts who claim that since they are right they do not need to have any arguments, or even respect their opponents. I am, of course, refering to "republicans".
Professor Spellman does not set out to prove his agenda. Rather, he is obviously uncomfortable with his findings that a monarchic system can not only work, but can even be beneficial to a democratic system. By acknowledging that, he joins other well-known historians like the internationally acclaimed Eric Hobsbawm (Age of Extremes) and Swedish historian and member of the Swedish Academy of Letters Peter Englund (The Battle that Shook Europe).
Professor Spellman is brave enough to acknowledge that tradition plays a large part in any system of governance. The other major parts being, of course, concensus and threat of retribution.
There are a couple of weaknesses with the book. Professor Spellman choses to analyze different types of monarchies in the world during a rather arbitrary time-period. He misses out on early English and Celtic monarchy for instance. He also seems to completely ignore monarchy in Oceania.
The monarchies that have survived into the twenty-first century have all showed a remarkable adapdability, and had already had a good portion of rule by concensus. Thereby cementing stable government and development.
By removing the traditionalist part of governance some other force must be used instead: all too often the new rulers have resorted to threat of, or outright rule by, violence.
It is good to find, despite its flaws, books on this system of goverment. The debate is too often dominated by parts that have their minds set, and cannot debate.
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