Summary of The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought

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The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought book summary


8 Overall

2 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


If you skipped those economic or political lectures in your History of the Twentieth Century class, or if you simply need a refresher course, this hefty tome will walk you through the "isms" of the past 100 years. Editors Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy offer a remarkably thorough history that runs the gamut from fascism to Keynes, from feminism to environmentalism, from surrealism to mystical racism, and in a way that makes you realize that they’re all intertwined. Be forewarned, though, this isn’t light reading. It’s a dense, academic work by major political thinkers. getAbstract suggests this book to anyone interested in putting today’s political climate into historical context. If you are involved in the financial life of Europe or the United States, this is your back story.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What factors led to the rise and retreat of the welfare state;
  • How Keynesian economic theories affected political thought; and
  • The historical context of the rise of Marxism, racism and identity politics.

About the Authors

Terence Ball is professor of political science at Arizona State University. A longtime academic, he has edited the political writings of James Mill and others. He wrote Rousseau’s Ghost: A Noveland other works. Richard Bellamy is professor of government at the University of Essex. He has edited a number of books and is the author of Modern Italian Social Theory, Liberalism and Pluralism and other books. This book is the chronological conclusion of the Cambridge History of Political Thought series.



The Rise of the Welfare State
The twentieth century was a cauldron that brewed a stew of political theories. Totalitarianism, fascism and communism rose and fell amid devastating wars. Feminism and other types of identity politics followed. Less dramatic but, perhaps, just as significant...

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