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Lineages of the Absolutist State Paperback – 1 Dec 1996


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"The breadth of reading, the acuteness of Anderson's social insight, the subtlety and power of his writing at its best, and, above all, the consistency of his overall intellectual control of the project are enormously impressive." - The Listener "The breath-taking range of conception and the architectural skill with which it has been executed make his work a formidable intellectual achievement." - New York Review of Books "A Marxist masterpiece, which should be in every single library in order to 'end the night of our ignorance' on the many themes which Anderson discusses." - Books and Bookmen "A dazzlingly provocative narrative of the two millennia between Pericles and Louis XIV" - Books of the Year, Sunday Times "What an intellectual pleasure it has been to read these texts. Anderson has a real ability for illuminating and succinct generalisation." - Times Higher Educational Supplement

About the Author

Perry Anderson is the author of, among other books, "Spectrum, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity," and "The New Old World." He teaches history at UCLA and is on the editorial board of "New Left Review."

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A masterpiece 20 Oct. 2004
By nyc_economist - Published on Amazon.com
This is comparative history writing at its best. I am in awe.

I picked up this thick book thinking I'd just poke around at a few of the chapters but I found myself so drawn by it that I had to go back and read it from start to end (all 550+ pages). Anderson isn't just interested in historical detail, he's interested in trying to shed understanding on big fundamental questions such as why was serfdom re-imposed in the East at the same time that it was collapsing in the West, why absolutism arose at the time it did and took different shapes in different regions. Solidly argued and authoritative, I can say without exageration that this is one of the most important history books I have ever read (scratch that, this is simply one of the most important BOOKS I've ever read). It changed the way I think about economic development, absolutism and nation states.

It is also well written. I found myself reading the book almost like a novel. No sooner had I finished a chapter on say Prussia that I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to find out what was similar but different in Poland, or Russia. Anderson has framed the questions so nicely that you just keep begging for more.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Comparative Study of Absolutism 26 Jun. 2002
By Suckwoo Lee - Published on Amazon.com
This is the second volume of the two part work. The first volume is ¡®Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism¡¯. On a review of the first volume, I explained the purpose of the work. So I¡¯ll go directly to the content of the second volume.
This volume deals with the absolute monarchies. Absolute monarchies emerged from the crisis of feudalism which was tackled in the first volume. Anderson begins with the conventional consensus: Absolute monarchies are the reconstruction of feudal state to defend the interest of ruling class. Anderson overviews the path various countries like Spain, France, England, Italy, Sweden, Prussia, Poland, Austria, Russia, Islamic world, and Japan followed from the 16th century to the emergence of modern nation-states. The reason he covered Eastern Europe is the same one as he does in the first volume: comparative study. he argues that Western absolutism are different from Eastern absolutism. They follow different lineages. The aim of this volume is to answer the question, why the capitalism emerged in Western Europe just like the first volume. But the main point of the second volume lies in comparing Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Why did seemingly the same absolutism diverged?
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