CJ -- Politics and Political Science

Chronik der deutschen Sozialdemokratie: Daten, Fakten, Hintergründe [Chronicle of German Social Democracy: Dates, Facts, Background]. Franz Osterroth and Dieter Schuster. Bonn: Dietz. 21 cm. [05-1-201]

Vol. 1. Von den Anfängen bis 1945 [From Its Origins until 1945]. Newly rev. and expanded ed. 2005. 575 p. ISBN 3-8012-0353-0: EUR 24.80

Vol. 2. 1945 bis 1974. Newly rev. and expanded ed. 2005. 527 p. ISBN 3-8012-0354-9: EUR 24.80

Vol. 3. 1974 bis 1982. Newly rev. and expanded ed. 2005. 687 p. ISBN 3-8012-0355-7: EUR 24.80

This title was first published in 1963 with the one-volume first edition issued to celebrate the founding of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) a hundred years earlier and covering the years 1818 to 1962. The second, expanded edition was begun in 1975 and completed in 1978, covering the intervening years up to 1977. The current, unnumbered edition picks up where the second left off, bringing the information up to 1982.

The somewhat complex publication history of the Chronik der deutschen Sozialdemokratie goes back to the publication in 1963 (with the 100th anniversary of the Social Democratic Party in Germany) of a one-volume chronology. Appropriately, it began with the birth of Karl Marx in 1818. A second, revised and updated edition in three volumes appeared in 1975-1978, with coverage up to July 1, 1977. The 1980 third edition was little more than an unrevised reprinting of volume 3 of the second edition. That label should have been reserved for the current edition of 2005, whose coverage ends with the election in 1982 of Helmut Kohl as Chancellor of the Federal Republic. A fourth volume was announced for fall 2006 with coverage up to 1987, although it would be more useful if it had continued up to the autumn of 2005, when party leader Franz Müntefering stepped down.

The format of the newly revised edition is more user-friendly than previous ones, with each page having two columns and most of the information integrated into the article itself, as opposed to the practice in earlier editions of being set off in grey-shaded boxes in the margins. The narrative entries are informative, often including citations from a variety of documents. All persons who are mentioned can be found in a personal name index included in each volume, which conveniently provides birth and death dates. There is no comprehensive index, but there is a subject index in each volume. In addition, each volume includes an overview of congresses and conventions and tables of regional and national election results. It would have been helpful to have an index of the many SPD organizations that are covered, as well as an explanatory list of their acronyms. [sh/nb,jb]

Die politischen Systeme Osteuropas [The Political Systems of Eastern Europe]. Ed. Wolfgang Ismayr. 2d ed. Wiesbaden: VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2004. 966 p. ill. 25 cm. (UTB, 8186: Politikwissenschaft). ISBN 3-8100-4053-3 (VS); ISBN 3-8252-8186-8 (UTB): EUR 44.90 [05-1-203]

The successful merger of two important social-sciences publishing houses (Westdeutscher Verlag and Leske + Budrich) to form VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, obviously did not delay the publication of this book. The first edition was published in 2002 as a companion volume to the 1999 Die politischen Systeme Westeuropas (see RREA 11:162). Although in the second edition of this work the list of authors, the titles of the introduction, and the extensive, uniformly composed articles have remained basically unchanged, the content has been thoroughly updated and revised. For example, the independence date for Estonia has been changed from August 21 to August 20, 1991, and there are new statements and tables in the section entitled "Political Culture and Political Participation." The bibliographies, which appear at the end of each article, have also been expanded and updated. In addition, the most crucial titles have been identified by an asterisk. The number of online resources listed was also increased. There are articles on 21 countries, from the Baltic States to Turkey and Cyprus. The inclusion of sources in the language of the respective countries varies greatly from article to article (e.g., they are plentiful in the article on Hungary but almost entirely missing from the one on Ukraine). The author of the article on Russia made the unfortunate choice of using the so-called "phonetic transcription" of titles, which makes it very hard to locate these sources in German library catalogs.

Like the first edition of this work, the second edition is considered indispensable for academic research libraries and is recommended for purchase by both academic and public libraries. [sh/as]

Die politischen Systeme Westeuropas [The Political Systems of Western Europe]. Ed. Wolfgang Ismayr. 3d rev. and updated ed. Wiesbaden: VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2003. 842 p. ill. 24 cm. (UTB, 8099: Politikwissenschaft). ISBN 3-8100-3607-0 (VS); 3-8252-8099-3 (UTB): EUR 34.90 [99-1/4-380]

[Ed. note: This abstract is derived from the IFB review of the 1999 second edition.]

There is a great need for a graduate-level political-science reference work like this one, and it is amazing that such a work in German has not appeared before now. The editor is a professor at the Institute for Political Science of the Technical University of Dresden, and the contributors are recognized experts on their respective countries. The book contains 21 articles, each approximately 40 pages in length. Eighteen of the chapters deal with the political systems of individual countries, and one chapter is devoted to smaller countries (Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican). The introductory chapter is a comparative study by the editor, and the concluding chapter is by Wolfgang Wessels, the editor of Europa von A-Z (see RREA 11:164). The articles cover each country’s constitutional history, the chief executive, parliaments, government, administration, political parties, electoral system, non-governmental organizations, political participation, the legislative process, and other aspects. Each article includes many tables, diagrams (such as legislative composition, executive agencies, and similar topics), and other graphic illustrations, and each article ends with a list of bibliographic references. There is no subject index [in the 1999 edition], but one would be welcome in future editions. The book’s physical quality is poor, and it would not withstand constant use in a library’s reference collection. The publisher should quickly remedy this in future editions. [jpl/ga]

Handwörterbuch des ökonomischen Systems der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Pocket Dictionary of the Economic System of the Federal Republic of Germany]. Ed. Klaus Schubert. Wiesbaden: VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2005. x, 502 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-8100-3588-2: EUR 36.90 [05-2-398]

This new dictionary is the third in a triptych of titles whose predecessors include the Handwörterbuch des politischen Systems der Bundesrepublik Deutschland […Political System of Germany] (see RREA 10:223) and the Handwörterbuch der Gesellschaft Deutschlands [German Society] (see RREA 7:227). The editor is professor of political economy at the University of Münster. The contributors are all experts in their respective fields, among them a number of noted professors.

The articles consist of 32 shorter informative essays, 62 essays between two and six pages, and 26 long articles (six to eleven pages) on key topics (mainly economic theory pertaining to Germany). The latter two groups of essays contain bibliographic references.

The essays focus on applied, not political economic topics. For example, dynamics of decision making, corporatism, and interest groups are given only casual mention, while subjects like labor unions and employers are covered extensively. Individual political areas like foreign economic policy, labor-market policy, the federal states as economic units are scarcely treated. Other topics like the construction and housing sector, banks, and media are included, but similar areas such as the automobile or the chemical industry are not. Corporate bodies like the EU, OECD, and the WTO are given individual articles, but not in an international or cross-national comparative perspective. There are a considerable number of such gaps.

The layout closely corresponds to that of the Handwörterbuch des politischen Systemes. It has an extensive cross-reference system, clear layout of key concepts, well-selected diagrams and tables, a comprehensive subject index (but with some important terms not included) to the 121 articles at the beginning of the work. The Handwörterbuch purports to be current through 2003, but coverage often stops after 1999. It would have been better for the editor to update the work rather than to apologize for this shortcoming.

Despite these deficits, the work is of significant value and should be included in academic and large public library collections, although other similar reference works are necessary to round out the collection in this content area. [jpl/ga]

Europa von A-Z: Taschenbuch der europäischen Integration [Europe A-Z: Pocket Handbook of European Integration]. Ed. Werner Weidenfeld and Wolfgang Wessels. 9th ed. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, 2006. 496 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-8329-1378-5: EUR 19.90 [05-2-399]

Published under the auspices of the Institute for European Politics [Institut für Europäische Politik], this successful reference work on the European Union is now in its 9th edition. Aimed at political-science students as well as at higher-level public-school students and higher schools, this work is also available free of charge on the web site (http://www.bpb.de) of the Federal Central Office for Political Education [Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung]. The work’s concept and layout have remained unchanged since the 6th edition in 1972. The survey articles and chronologies have been revised and updated, which is especially noticeable in the articles in the main section Europa zum Nachschlagen [Europe: Facts and Figures]. New articles on current topics have been included, superseded articles have been deleted, and still relevant articles have been updated or rewritten by new authors. The bibliographical references are up to date. This work should be acquired by academic as well as public and school libraries. Superseded older editions should not be discarded, because they are good sources for the history and development of the European Union and it member countries. [jpl/ga]

Handlexikon der Europäischen Union [Pocket Dictionary of the European Union]. Wolfgang W. Mickel. 3d rev. and expanded ed. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, 2005. 928 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-8329-1683-0: EUR 39 [05-2-400]

This Nomos-Verlag third edition has been considerably revised and expanded, compared with the first (see RREO 94-3/4-531) and second (see RREA 5:199) editions published by Omnia-Verlag (Köln). Whereas the first two editions were strong in politics and science, the third edition has moved sharply in the direction of economics and legal topics. Also, this edition is generally restricted to the EU, whereas the previous editions also gave significant coverage to other organizations like NATO and the Western European Union (WEU).

The layout and organization are largely unchanged. A large dictionary section (822 pages) is enhanced by the addition of subject headings in the margin, for example, chronology, retrospectives, forecasts, and statistical data. The short introduction to the member states, with statistical profiles, has been dropped. The number of articles has been substantially increased and the index expanded, and the number of contributors (from academia, government ministries, and lobbying organizations) has grown from 50 to 80. Some of the articles are signed.

The articles vary in length from a brief entry to up to five pages and cover institutions, organizations, treaties, laws, programs, political arenas, persons, and integration theories. Tables and diagrams enrich the content, and the longer articles have bibliographic references up through 2004. Internet addresses are often included for institutions and organizations. There are also numerous references in the text to other articles in the work or to articles outside this work.

In recent years no other reference work of comparable scope has been published on the European Union. Therefore this work belongs in all academic libraries and in many public libraries. [jpl/ga]

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Last update: March 2009 [BG]
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