Enemy Brothers Socialists and Communists in France, Italy, and Spain

Auteur: W. Rand Smith
Taal: Engels
Enemy Brothers
  • Engels
  • Hardcover
  • 9781442218987
  • Druk: 1
  • november 2012
  • 302 pagina's
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This examination of the historical relationship between Socialist and Communist parties in France, Italy, and Spain since 1920 contends that during the 1960s and 1970s these parties made critical alliance decisions that shaped their subsequent political fortunes. Enemy Brothers, based on field work and interviews, compares and explains these strategies, stressing the influence of institutional arrangements, political party culture, and leadership.


Smith examines the longstanding relationship between socialists and communists in France, Italy, and Spain-three Latin European countries with historically significant communist parties rivaling socialists for domination of the political Left. In particular, the distinction is made between periods of conflict and periods of cooperation since 1920, but especially since the 1960s, and the critical junctures when a party (or specifically its leader) chose a given strategic direction in a path-dependent way. Smith's explanation is based on the effects of national political institutions, the culture of specific parties, and individual party leaders. Such breadth is crucial to a full explanation and is a key strength of this book. The conclusions then extend the analysis briefly to Greece and Portugal. In addition to examining the building of alliances, antecedent focus is given to the comparative nature of party organizations. This is an excellent work of comparative politics, clearly written and based on detailed research and fieldwork. It provides insights on each country as well as west European politics in general. Brief historical counterfactuals are also suggested. Definitely recommended for both political scientists and historians. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. * CHOICE * A welcome contribution to the comparative literature on the extended family of the European Left. . . . Smith's book provides valuable detailed studies of the relations between communists and socialists in three Southern European countries. He provides interesting insights and a fresh perspective on the question of Left-Left relations, an issue that will certainly attract the attention of scholars of European Politics. The identity crisis of European social democracy, the rise of anti-establishment parties on the radical Left, the closer co-operation and tighter organisation of socialists and communists in Europarties and the impact of the economic crisis on these developments raise interesting questions about the new patterns of party competition and co-operation on the European Left. Enemy Brothers has important messages to convey with regard to these issues. * West European Politics * The book unquestionably provides the reader with a clear, informative contemporary history of political forces that will surely contribute to a much-needed comparison of the Southern European experience. * Revue francaise de science politique * The chapters include case studies of the evolution of socialist and communist parties in France, Italy, and Spain (with shorter sections devoted to Portugal and Greece), as well as analyses of party organization and alliances. These treatments are comprehensive and judicious, and for those interested in party behavior and decision making more generally, they make a good case for why and how organization, culture, and leadership matter. Enemy Brothers should be helpful both to students of the European Left and political parties more generally. * American Political Science Review * Drawing on extensive research conducted over four decades, W. Rand Smith reappraises the close but uneasy relationship between the two pillars of left-wing politics in three major European countries in the post war decades. The book's important contribution to the historiography lies in its specific, systematic and productive analysis of those relations and the ways in which they shaped the history of the Left within the wider political contexts of those countries. Its detailed treatment of key issues and cross-cultural perspective can only add to the knowledge and understanding of those with a particular or specialist interest in any of the national cases examined. . . . [The book's] combination of rich empirical data, synthetic handling of the evidence and new insights into the nature and evolution of left-wing dynamics means that Enemy Brothers will be of particular interest to students and academics in the fields of political science, but it also has much to communicate to historians, and especially those engaged in European and political history. * Modern and Contemporary France * Rand Smith has produced a study that is, first and foremost, an impressive synthesis of the experience of the major West European Lefts where both Communists and Socialists were serious political contenders-France, Italy, and Spain. Utilizing his own extensive previous research experience and interviews and the relevant documentary and secondary material in three languages, Smith successfully achieves something often paid lip-service, but rarely accomplished: he lays out a clear, historically informed framework and applies it, comparatively, across all three cases. As an additional bonus, he applies the same framework to two additional countries-Portugal and Greece-as further evidence of the utility of focusing on critical junctures in the history and evolution of such parties. Taken in its entirety, this book is the best sort of contextualized comparison. It has implications that go well beyond how Communists and Socialists of yesteryear responded to turning points in their own and their countries' history. Students of political parties, as well as anyone interested in the current crisis of the traditional Left, or the travails of new oppositional forces in Western democracies, will benefit enormously by reading Enemy Brothers. -- Stephen Hellmann, York University Rand Smith's well-designed study of the relations between Socialist and Communist parties in France, Italy, and Spain-the three largest 'Latin European' countries-is a much-needed contribution that will be of significant interest to scholars and students alike. On the basis of decades of research experience in these three countries, Smith has written a book that is not only highly informative but also lively and engaging. He has taken the complex and changing relations between these two wings of the European left as an opportunity both for theoretical work on party behavior and for revisiting the history of important times in ways that will be of appeal to a wide group of readers. Students of Western European politics, twentieth-century European history, political parties, and the Left will find the book to be valuable reading. -- Robert M. Fishman, University of Notre Dame In this elegantly written and carefully argued book, Rand Smith fills an important gap in the scholarly literature on Left parties. His examination of the troubled relationship between Socialist and Communist parties sheds new light on both the historical trajectory and the current state of the European Left. The culmination of forty years of Rand Smith's research expertise on Left parties, governments, and unions, this is an analytically rich and utterly compelling book that deserves to be read widely. -- Chris Howell, Oberlin College



23,5 x 15,9 x 3,2 cm
Aantal pagina's
302 pagina's
Aanbevolen leeftijd
22 jaar


W. Rand Smith
Rowman & Littlefield



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