One Hundred Years of Socialism: The West European Left in the Twentieth Century

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9780006863762: One Hundred Years of Socialism: The West European Left in the Twentieth Century

The 100-year-period from 1880 to 1980 has seen the inception, unification, division and ultimate destruction of all of Western Europe's Socialist and Progressive parties. Whether in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, the Iberian peninsula, Greece or the Low Countries, the end of the 20th century sees the Western European Left in comprehensive retreat from its long-term ambitions to overthrow - or at least reform - the capitalist system. Sassoon's main thesis is that far from overthrowing capitalism, socialism has, in the late 19th and 20th century, enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with it. Each has systematically given substantial ground to the other.

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Review:

'Admirable...a compelling guide to the recent history of Social Democratic parties' --Tony Judt, TLS

'The author has scaled a mountain of scholarship and returned with an indispensable work of reference and reflection' --Norman Birnbaum, Political Quarterly

'A majestic work. Nothing like this great survey exists in any language...an unfailing pleasure to read' --The Economist

From the Back Cover:

“A remarkable new work of historical analysis, which will soon establish itself a classic, Donald Sassoon’s lucid and erudite 'One Hundred Years of Socialism', demonstrates that … the effective parties of the left, whether social democratic or (in a few cases such as France and Italy) communist … have served to regulate and socialise the wealth-creating and directionless economic dynamism of capitalism, not replace it.”
ERIC HOBSBAWM, 'Guardian'

“A majestic work. Nothing like this great survey exists in any language … stylishly written, with an ironic wit and vivid gift of metaphor, the book is an unfailing pleasure to read.”
ECONOMIST

“Epic … an encyclopaedic comparative work drawing freely on the histories of countries as diverse as Britain, Germany, Greece, Denmark and Finland … its greatest strength lies in his placing of the left-right ideological battle within the context of the change and development of a capitalist system. Thus, [Sassoon] says, there has been no defeat of socialism by capitalism; the crisis of socialism was precipitated by the expansion of and changes in capitalism.”
ALAN THOMPSON, 'Times Higher Education Supplement'

“Brilliant … Sassoon’s view is based on quite phenomenally extensive reading and knowledge. Yet we never feel ourselves to be drowning in a morass of unconnected or undigested detail. Nor does learning here preclude liveliness and wit … an astonishing achievement, which deserves to become a classic of socialist history.”
ANTHONY ARBLASTER, 'Tribune'

“Sasson’s book is remarkable. A massive and original synthesis which deserves to become a classic, there is nothing comparable to it in the English language.”
DAVID MARQUAND

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