CJ -- Politics and Political Science

Lexikon Dritte Welt: Länder, Organisationen, Theorien, Begriffe, Personen [Lexicon of the Third World: Countries, Organizations, Th eories, Concepts, Persons]. Ed. Dieter Nohlen. Completely new and rev. ed. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2002. 947 p. maps, ill. 19 cm. (rororo, 61468; Sachbuch). ISBN 3-499-61468-5: EUR 19.90 [03-1-234]

The Lexikon Dritte Welt is an indispensable component of the reference library of anyone who works with developing countries and politics and should be available in the latest edition in every library with a corresponding scope. According to the editor, it is revised every 18–24 months; information in the foreword indicates that this is the 12th edition. Since the previous edition, the number of contributors has increased from 69 to over 80. The volume added 70 pages and now includes 1,800 articles and references. The biographical articles are somewhat sparse; for example, one does not find Boutros Boutros-Ghali. All in all, a comprehensive, well documented work without peer. [jpl/dsa]

Die Bundespräsidenten: von Theodor Heuss bis Johannes Rau [The Presidents of the Federal Republic: From Theodor Heuss to Johannes Rau]. Günther Scholz and Martin E. Süskind. Stuttgart; München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2003. 493 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 3-421-054398: EUR 29.90 [03-1-235]

The first edition appeared in 1990, the third in 1996 (see IFB 99-B09-406), and this is the fourth, with a new publisher and an additional author. Both authors, who are journalists and freelance writers, have a style that is fluid and full of content. In an 80-page introduction, they take stock of the first eight presidents and compare their activities and influence. The eight biographies fill the following 360 pages; each includes a portrait and an extensive description of the origins and careers of the presidents. Many quotes from speeches and interviews provide authenticity, but unfortunately the volume has no footnotes to document these or any other sources. The book seems more appropriate for a public library than an academic one. This impression is confirmed by the bibliography, which includes only monographs, no articles. This title is recommended for readers interested in politics and contemporary history. [jpl/vh]

Lexikon der Christlichen Demokratie in Deutschland [Lexicon of Christian Democracy in Germany]. Ed. Winfried Becker for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2002. 809 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-506-70779-5: EUR 50 [03-1-236]

Over 250 historians, political scientists, and lawyers, and a few politicians, have contributed to this extensive reference work on Christian Democratic groups in Germany. It consists of an introductory overview; a historical section, with a chronology covering 1870–2002; a biographical section with over 300 entries that vary in length according to the significance of the subject; a subject lexicon, with articles on broad areas of political interest (largely post-1945), as well as on political concepts, institutions, and organizations; and an appendix that includes statistical data, party programs, lists of party personnel, etc.—data available elsewhere but convenient to have between two covers. The volume concludes with a selective bibliography, a list of contributors, and name and subject indexes. There is no other reference book devoted to post-war Christian Democratic groups in Germany. The work was sponsored by a foundation associated with the Christian Democratic Party, but it betrays no particular bias (though one cannot expect to find anything here that is particularly critical). This title is recommended. [jpl/sl]

Handbuch Rechtsradikalismus: Personen, Organisationen, Netzwerke: vom Neonazismus bis in die Mitte der Gesellschaft [Handbook of Right-Wing Radicalism: Persons, Organizations, Networks: From Neo-Nazism to the Mainstream of Society]. Ed. Thomas Grumke and Bernd Wagner. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2002. 546 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-8100-3399-5: EUR 29.90 [03-1-238]

This book, which features the work of a number of recognized experts on the subject, is organized in four sections: topical articles cover such aspects of the subject as publication and communication structures, criminal activity, ideology, and mythology; each article covers 15–20 pages and includes a bibliography. Profiles of around 55 activists, covering one to five pages each, feature essential data in capsule form, followed by a fuller account of the person’s life and role in the movement. More than 30 organizations, including publishers and musical groups, are likewise profiled with capsule data and a description of their activities. A much shorter section than the others lists active opponents of right-wing radicalism, with brief profiles and contact information. Th ere is also a bibliography, a list of contributors, and name and subject indexes.

The book is remarkably user-friendly. Each personal or organizational profile contains references to other profiles, facilitating the development of context for the researcher. The indexes likewise highlight the locations of profiles and topical articles among their other references. As a concise introduction to the major facets of German right-wing radicalism since 1990, suitable for both scholarly and general use, this work is recommended for public and academic libraries. [jpl/gw]

Die Parteien und Organisationen der DDR: ein Handbuch [The Parties and Organizations of the GDR: A Handbook]. Ed. Gerd-Rüdiger Stephan. Berlin: Dietz, 2002. 1,487 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-320-01988-0: EUR 70 [03-1-239]

This voluminous work provides information on the membership of political parties and social organizations and their context within the political and social structure of the GDR. It presents well-researched biographical portraits of ca. 1,000 political leaders and functionaries, along with a section of legal documents. Although a bibliography and name index are included, a geographical index would also have been helpful. Information on parties and organizations is ample, with full footnoting; the structure and graphic or illustrative elements of these articles are good, and the locations of the relevant archives are provided. A noticeable exception to the comprehensive treatment of political parties is the entry for the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) [Socialist Unity Party of Germany]. Overall, the handbook brings together a wide field of information that has hitherto been treated only in isolation, and the inclusion of the social/historical organizations and contexts makes it more than just a political data handbook. [jpl/rlk]

Opposition und Widerstand in der DDR: politische Lebensbilder [Opposition and Resistance in the German Democratic Republic: Political Portraits]. Ed. Karl Wilhelm Fricke, Peter Steinbach, and Johannes Tuchel. München: Beck, 2002. 373 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1479). ISBN 3-406-47619-8: EUR 14.90 [03-1-240]

This volume contains 55 biographies of regime opponents in East Germany mainly for the period from the end of World War II to the building of the Berlin wall. The contributors are scholars and journalists familiar with the period and its opposition figures, often from personal acquaintance. The biographies (average length 13 pages) are thematically arranged in the following general areas: opponents of Stalinization; opposition out of socialist conviction; youth in opposition; student opposition; internal party opposition; opposition writers; the revolt of June 17, 1953; conquering the Berlin wall. In the biographies the development of each figure’s opposition, the actions that led to persecution by the regime, and periods of imprisonment are presented, as are each person’s attitudes and inner motives.

In view of the large number of political persecutions of the period, the persons covered in this work must be seen as a representative sample and the omission of some well-known opposition figures (e.g., Wolfgang Leonhardt) is not significant.

These biographies provide a vivid picture of an important chapter of German history. They are considerably more extensive than in the standard reference works Lexikon Opposition und Widerstand in der SED-Diktatur [Dictionary of Opposition and Resistance under the SED-Dictatorship] (see RREA 7:228) and Wer war wer in der DDR [Who Was Who in the GDR] (see RREA 7:317–318). The work belongs in every academic library that collects in this subject area. [jpl/jc]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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