The Rise and Decline of the State

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Overview

The state, which since the middle of the seventeenth century has been the most important of all modern institutions, is in decline. From Western Europe to Africa, many existing states are either combining into larger communities or falling apart. Many of their functions are likely to be taken over by a variety of organizations that, whatever their precise nature, are not states. In this unique volume Martin van Creveld traces the story of the state from its beginnings to its end. Starting with the simplest political organizations that ever existed, he guides the reader through the origins of the state, its development, its apotheosis during the two World Wars, and its spread from its original home in Western Europe to cover the globe. In doing so, he provides a fascinating history of government from its origins to the present day. This original book will of interest to historians, political scientists and sociologists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this study offers two major scholarly contributions. First, the state is regarded as "merely one of the forms" the organization of government has assumed; therefore it is not eternal. Second, Van Creveld points out that development and spread of new institutions—"abstract organizations" in the author's words—since a quarter of century ago have started to take over some of the state functions..." X. Hu, Social and Behavioral Sciences

"Martin Van Creveld provides an insightful history of the state and the most lucid analysis to date of the contemporary challenges it faces...This is an important book." Peter Schwartz, Whole Earth

"This is a book which many more should read than will, such as anyone teaching 'Western Civilization' or 'Modern Europe', anyone interested in intellectual history, or anyone simply interested in the political condition of the modern world." Richard A. Oehling, H-Net Reviews

"'The Rise and Decline of the State'—a tight display of erudition counterpointed by occasional heavy-handed attempts at humor—makes the case." Washington Times

"Van Creveld's latest study is an important and wide-ranging scholarly work, in addition to being both beautifully written and a thoroughly engaging reading. It is crucial reading not only for students of military and political history, but also for those of Western utopian literature, since it clearly highlights throughout the links between fact and fiction. Besides its value to academics, this expansive and interesting review of the evolution of the nation-state worthwhile and enjoyable reading for anyone with an interest in political science and history." UTOPIAN STUDIES

"This study is not only brilliant history; it is insightful and brimming with scores of fascinating and plausible hypotheses..." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521651905
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Before the State: Prehistory to 1300 AD: 1. Tribes without rulers; 2. Tribes with rulers (chiefdoms); 3. City states; 4. Empires, strong and weak; 5. Limits of stateless societies; Part II. The Rise of the State: 1300–1648: 6. The struggle against the church; 7. The struggle against the empire; 8. The struggle against the nobility; 9. The struggle against the towns; 10. The monarch's triumph; Part III. The State as an Instrument: 1648–1789: 11. Building the bureaucracy; 12. Creating the infrastructure; 13. Monopolizing violence; 14. The growth of political theory; 15. Inside the Leviathan; Part IV. The State as an Ideal: 1789–1945: 16. The great transformation; 17. Disciplining the people; 18. Conquering the money; 19. The road to total war; 20. The apotheosis of war; Part V. The Spread of the State: 1696–1975: 21. Into Eastern Europe; 22. The Anglo-Saxon Experience; 23. The Latin American experiment; 24. Frustration in Asia and Africa; 25. What everybody has …; Part VI. The Decline of the State: 1975–: 26. The waning of major war; 27. The retreat of welfare; 28. Technology goes international; 29. The threat to international order; 30. The withdrawal of faith; Conclusion: beyond the state.

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