NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

RockerCover2NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase)  Complete edition (Books I & II, with all 27 chapters, including bibliography and index. Appx. 713 pp)

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Nationalism and Culture is a detailed and scholarly study of the development of nationalism and the changes in human cultures from the dawn of history to the present day and an analysis of the relations of these to one another. It tells the story of the growth of the State and the other institutions of authority and their influence on life and manners, on architecture and art, on literature and thought. Nationalism and Culture is, primarily, a 600-page (appx 713pp on Kindle/Kobo) exploration of the origins and development of nationalism, and a scathing denunciation of the corrosive effect of national feeling on the human spirit. Yet it is one of those works, like The Anatomy of Melancholy (Robert Burton, 1621), that springboard from their stated purpose to discourse on everything under the sun. Architecture is analyzed, socialism is defended, and Rembrandt’s paintings are scrutinized at length. It is at once a treatise on the state’s relationship with culture and a manifesto for an enlightened leftism. Most of all, it is a clear-eyed plea for sanity at a moment when nationalist and religious irrationalism threatened to swallow the globe. It could not be more relevant. Rocker’s thesis is straightforward: Nations are the products of states, rather than vice versa. They are manufactured to serve the goals of the powerful, to divide human beings and keep them from recognizing their common interests. Rocker argues this point with a litany of historical examples, from the Renaissance to “the stupid and stumbling provisions of the Versailles treaty.”

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