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Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (Verso Classics) Paperback – 4 Oct 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; New edition edition (4 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859841074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859841075
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A complex, beautifully interwoven and controlled account of Europe from the ancient Greeks to modern absolutist monarchies ... exhilarating." - Moses Finley, Guardian "Quite splendid... A powerful and lucid intelligence." - Eric Hobsbawm, New Statesman "The breath-taking range of conception and architectural skill with which it has been executed make this work a formidable intellectual experience." - Keith Thomas, New York Review of Books "A most stimulating introduction to the understanding of modern capitalist society ... It is the breadth and the sweep of Anderson's interpretation which impresses, It is a synthesis which gives a convincing explanation of the development of European feudalism, whether that of East or West, Baltic or Mediterranean." - Rodney Hilton

About the Author

Perry Anderson teaches history at UCLA and is an editor of New Left Review. His other books include Lineages of the Absolutist State (1974), Considerations on Western Marxism (1976), Arguments Within English Marxism (1980), In the Tracks of Historical Materialism (1983), and English Questions (1992).

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexander G. Marshall VINE VOICE on 20 April 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating review of the development of human civilization through shifting modes of production. Whilst this might sound dry, the book is beautifully written and engaging, and destined to stimulate anyone with an open mind into thinking more about the course of human history. Highly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
When I first read this book I loved it. In it Mr. Anderson gives clear and unambiguous explanations to complex historical processes in a easily accessible way.
Then I studied Scandinavian Archaeology.
And discovered that many of Mr. Andersons assumtions are now very dated. His veiws on the prehistoric germans is very influenced of now amongst archaeologists long abandoned theories. This is sad, partly because it may make the reader doubt on all the explanations presented in the book, and partly because the fact that Mr Anderssons applies a Marxist perspective may incorrectly give many readers the impression that the perspective in itself is incorrect.
The book is however, despite its flaws, a must as a clear and easily accesible example - and proof - of how much historical and archaeological research has changed during the last decades. The fact that it covers all of Europe rather than a single coungry or area is also a great plus.
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Rethinking ethnocentric historical materialism 26 Jun. 2002
By Suckwoo Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Perry Anderson is a leading editor of 'New Left Review' and well-known Marxist historian. This book is the first volume of a two part work. The second volume is 'Lineage of the Absolutist State' Those two volumes cover the whole history of pre-capitalist Western world from Greco-Roman antiquity to Absolutist monarchies. It's incredible how one research could cover that range of time. Moreover, he maintains his distinctive perspective throughout two volumes. His problem is the same one as Marx and Weber posed: the formation of capitalism. But Anderson's problem is somewhat narrower: why did the capitalism emerge in Europe rather than in more advanced China, India or Islamic world at that time? To answer the question, he traces back to Greco-Roman antiquity. His answer in the first volume is this: it's because the West was formulated through combining antiquity and feudalism. It doesn't seem distinctive at all. But he questioned in the line of Marxist tradition and his answer could have meaning only in that line. his terminology is different from traditional Marxist one. He recasts the conventional definition of antiquity and feudalism: he contends that the antiquity and the Western feudalism had idiosyncratic modes of production. For example, the slavery itself, which was the dominant mode of production in antiquity, could be common in that time. But outside Greco-Roman world, the slavery was not dominant mode of production. Moreover, the Western feudalism was formed through fusing totally different modes of production: a synthesis of Greco-Roman society and German society. So features of Western feudalism are restricted to its own context, not catholic ones. If we treat it as universal, Anderson argues, we can't explain why the capitalism merged only in the West. To prove his proposition, Anderson compares the different paths Western Europe and Eastern Europe followed. Furthermore, he redefines the relationship between superstructure and infrastructure. As Braudel maintained with his jargon, longue duree, Anderson asserts that components of superstructure, such as the state, religion, value, law, convention, also affect the mode of production.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Masterpiece 15 Sept. 2002
By Mark Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Superb work of Marxist historiography. Not a history, strictly speaking, but an essay on state forms in transition from the ancient slave societies of Greece and Rome to the fragmented monarchies of early medievalism. Stunning sweep, and a masterpiece of contemporary English prose which I believe will one day rank with Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua as a milestone in the evolution of literary English.
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