Forging Democracy

Forging Democracy : The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000

3.94 (39 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Democracy in Europe has been a relatively recent phenomenon. Only in the wake of World War Two did democratic forces become ensconced and, even then, it was to be decades before democracy truly blanketed the continent. How then did liberal democracy become the order of the day? Neither given nor granted, democracy requires conflict, often violent confrontations, and challenges to the existing order. In Europe, Geoff Eley here convincingly illustrates, democracy did not evolve organically out of a postwar consensus, the prosperity of the long boom, or the negative cement of the Cold War. Rather, it was painstakingly crafted, continually expanded, and aggressively defended by a loose conglomeration of socialist, labour, feminist, and Communist movements that underwrote the industrial resurrection of Europe's ruined spirit. These parties of the left organised civil societies rooted in egalitarian ideals that came to from the very fibre of Europe's current democratic traditions. The trajectory of European democracy is thus inextricably connected with the history of the European Left.
Seeking neither to valorise nor condemn, Eley has given us the first truly comprehensive history of the European Left's successes and failures; its high watermarks and its low tides; its accomplishments, insufficiencies, and excesses; and, most importantly, its formative, lasting influence on the political landscape of the West. At a time when the influence and legitimacy - the very value - of Leftist democratic principles in frequently called into question, this book stands as a ringing, substantive affirmation of the power of human ideals and of collective organisation.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 720 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 45.72mm | 1,133.98g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195037847
  • 9780195037845

About Geoff Eley

Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author and editor of many books on British and German history, including Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change after Bismarck.
show more

Review quote

Histories of socialism can sometimes downgrade and lose sight of the fact that this was a movement in which poor people believed and which they, to a significant degree, built. But Mr Eley tells the story well. One of the books great virtues is that many of the men and women, especially those of lower class birth, who furthered the cause, are given biographies and space. * The Economist * Parties, activists, theories and ideas are all here, described with the professionalism of the consummate historian. * Donald Sassoon, Times Literary Supplement * Geoff Eley has written a substantial, complex, erudite book on European socialism, unfailingly interesting even when one does not agree with its emphasis or its sentiments. Its judicious mapping of the itinerary of the doctrine, its parties and its supporters, is fair and balanced. * Donald Sassoon, Times Literary Supplement * ... an impressive account ... It is ambitious, well written, and a welcome account ... comprehensive, detailed and comparative ... an important contribution to the scholarly literature on democracy and the Left ... This book is stimulating in its own terms, but it also opens a window for better understanding of the major twenty-first century ethical and egalitarian critique, the anti-globalization movement. * Mobilization *
show more

Table of contents

show more

Rating details

39 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 33% (13)
4 41% (16)
3 15% (6)
2 8% (3)
1 3% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X