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The Rise and Decline of the State

The Rise and Decline of the State


  • Date Published: August 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521656290
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About the Authors
  • The state, which since the middle of the seventeenth century has been the most important and most characteristic 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 being taken over by a variety of organizations which, whatever their precise nature, are not states. In this unique volume Martin van Creveld traces the story of the state from its beginnings to the present. 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.

    • Traces the history of the estate from prehistoric times to the present day, combining political, economic and social history
    • The book is unique in offering a complete history of government in one volume, and will be topical and controversial, arguing that the state is in terminal decline
    • Van Creveld is a well-known and high-selling author worldwide. His last book with Cambridge, Supplying War (1978), has sold 40,000 copies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … a very readable account, [van Creveld] paints a most persuasive picture of the decline of the state and the transfer of its powers to a host of substitute guardians. It is an intellectually exciting and highly recommended book.' Law Society Journal

    Customer reviews

    25th Sep 2017 by AFayed1984

    Very useful book. It is about the state as a historical developed phenomenon of human sociology. Van Creveld gives a very deep and rich illustration about the emergence of different phases of political and social order from the primal ages to the twentieth century. I think this is very important book for all political science students and researchers.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521656290
    • length: 448 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 154 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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.

  • Author

    Martin van Creveld, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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