CJ - Politics and Political Science

Wörterbuch zur Politik [Dictionary of Politics]. Manfred G. Schmidt. 3d rev. and updated ed. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2010. xv, 932 p. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-520- 40403-9: EUR 42.80

In the 3d expanded and updated edition (see RREA 10:213 for a review of the 2d ed.), Manfred Schmidt has added 162 new entries, bringing the total content to almost 4,000 terms and 5,800 citations. Despite the relative terseness of the presentations, there is ample breath of topical coverage as well as adequate detail, and the reader benefits from a critical treatment of the subject. This reference work is recommended for anyone interested in the political arena. Indeed, it will appeal to a broad readership, including journalists, professionals within politics and government, pre-secondary students and their teachers, and university students and faculty. [tk/rlk]

Lexikon der Politikwissenschaft: Theorien, Methoden, Begriffe [Encyclopedia of Political Science: Theories, Methods, Concepts]. Ed. Dieter Nohlen and Rainer- Olaf Schultze. 4th updated and expanded printing. 2 vols. München: Beck, 2010. 1260 p. ill. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1463, 1464). ISBN 978-3-406- 59233-1 (vol. 1): EUR 19.95, ISBN 978-3-406-59234-8 (vol. 2): EUR 19.95

This work, now in its fourth edition (see RREA 8:213 and 10:211 for reviews of the first and second editions), distinguishes itself from Manfred G. Schmidt’s Wörterbuch zur Politik (see RREA 15/16:163)) by restricting itself to political science proper, while Schmidt’s work encompasses the broader sphere of politics. The two works thus complement each other, and both deserve a place on the bookshelf of students and teachers of these subjects. The 1,300 entries penned by over 160 contributors contain numerous references to further reading, providing a good spring-board to both introductory and further learning, while the content itself delves in detail into the subject. The references appear to be current through 2009, although they should not be considered exhaustive. All in all this is a good addition to the reference shelf. [tk/rlk]

Theorien des Friedens und des Krieges: kommentierte Bibliographie zur Theoriegeschichte [Encyclopedia of Political Science: Theories, Methods, Concepts]. Ed. Dieter Nohlen and Rainer- Olaf Schultze. 4th updated and expanded printing. 2 vols. München: Beck, 2010. 1260 p. ill. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1463, 1464). ISBN 978-3-406- 59233-1 (vol. 1): EUR 19.95, ISBN 978-3-406-59234-8 (vol. 2): EUR 19.95

Vol. 1. Altertum bis 1830 [Antiquity to 1830]. 2010. 700 p. (..., 7). ISBN 978- 3-8329-5186-3: EUR 49

This intelligently annotated bibliography provides exhaustive coverage of the literature on peace and conflict from antiquity to 1830, with particular emphasis on English- and German-language material.

The work is structured into seven content areas: an introduction; works covering multiple time periods; religious and non-European traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahá’í); South Asian and Chinese traditions (including the important military literature); antiquity; the Middle Ages; the early modern period; and the revolutionary period (1772 to 1831). Included are not only stand-alone works on theories of peace and conflict, but also relevant sections from within larger, classical philosophical writings.

Notwithstanding some typographical oddities and inconsistencies which make the bibliography harder to use than it would have to be, this is an extremely useful reference work for political scientists in particular. Two subsequent volumes are planned to cover the periods from 1840 to 1940 and from 1940 to the present. They look set to be even more helpful as research tools, because more recent literature on peace and conflict is often less well known and less accessible than older, classic material. [tk/cjm]

Europa von A bis Z: Taschenbuch der europäischen Integration [Europe from A to Z: Pocket Guide to European Integration]. Ed. Werner Weidenfeld and Wolfgang Wessels. 11th ed. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft; Berlin: Institut für Europäische Politik, 2009. 499 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3-8329- 4478-0: EUR 19.90

Similar in structure and breadth to the 2007 10th edition (see RREA 13:220), this eleventh edition is a respected guidebook and a very useful resource. Approximately one-tenth of the entries have been deleted and new ones added; the other articles and the appendixes have been updated. This edition features a special section on the contested and controversial 2007-2009 Treaty of Lisbon that introduced significant changes to the European Council, the European Parliament, and the system of member voting. This work is highly recommended. [jpl/ldl]

Das Europalexikon: Begriffe, Namen, Institutionen [The Europe Lexicon: Concepts, Names, Institutions]. Ed. Martin Große Hüttmann and Hans-Georg Wehling. Bonn: Dietz, 2009. 350 p. ill. 19 cm. ISBN 978-3-8012-0385-6: EUR 18.80

This work focuses on the narrow version of Europe, that is, the countries of the European Union, and not the entire continent. It is well suited to the study of politics, and could function as a handbook for use at the university level.

Following an historical introduction, the main body of the volume consists of two sections of articles, punctuated by a “service section” of 10 pages on Internet research of EU themes and four pages of maps. The approximately 50 articles are well-fashioned and introduce the legal contexts of the political setting and its institutions as needed. The Europalexikon compares favorably with the more comprehensive Handlexikon der Europäischen Union (see RREA 11:165) and offers a quicker reference, making it suitable for public libraries as well as for research needs. For comparison, see reviews of the first and second editions of Wolf D. Gruner’s Europa-Lexikon: Länder, Politik, Institutionen in RREA 10:239 and RREA 13:219. [jpl/rlk]

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

Vol. 5. 1987-1990. 2009. 571 p. ISBN 978-3-8012-0367-2: EUR 24.80

The fifth volume of this political-party almanac continues to carry the name of Franz Osterroth (the series’ founder), who passed away in 1986. (Volumes 1-3, completely revised in 2005, were reviewed in RREA 11:160, and volume 4 was reviewed in RREA 12:199.) The coverage extends from Willy Brandt’s 1987 resignation as party chairman to October 3, 1990. The structure and presentation are the same as in the previous volumes, with extended essays incorporating material from documents of the period (including relevant material about other political parties and events). Indexes to persons and party congresses, as well as national and regional election results are provided. As in earlier volumes, however, there is neither a cumulative index nor any key to initialisms. The remaining compiler, Dieter Schuster is himself in his eighties, so a smooth transition to younger contributors is to be hoped for. [sh/gw]

Hessische Abgeordnete 1820-1933: biographische Nachweise für die Erste und Zweite Kammer der Landstände des Grossherzogtums Hessen 1820-1918 und den Landtag des Volksstaats Hessen 1919-1933 [Members of the Legislative Bodies of Hesse, 1820-1933: Biographical Notes for the First and Second Chambers of the Parliament of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, 1820-1913, and for the Legislature of the People’s State of Hesse, 1919-1933]. Ed. Klaus-Dieter Rack. Darmstadt: Hessische Historische Kommission, 2008. 1107 p. ill. 25 cm. (Politische und parlamentarische Geschichte des Landes Hessen, 19; Arbeiten der Hessischen Historischen Kommission, 29). ISBN 978-3-88443-052-1: EUR 60

Research into the history of the Hessian parliaments is overall in an excellent state thanks to the tireless work of Jochen Lengemann, a member of the Christian Democratic Union and an expert on parliamentary history.

In the case of the work reviewed here, an earlier version bearing the same title was published in 1980, with a supplement appearing in 1995. The new edition presents itself as a “thorough revision” of its predecessor. One notes, however, that the information found in the biographical entries is essentially the same as that in the 1980 and 1995 publications. Only the bibliographical citations have been updated to include references to publications that have appeared since 1995; unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the information contained in those newer publications has not been integrated into the entries themselves.

The work reprints the introduction and preface found in the 1980 and 1995 publications and then adds a 50-page introduction to the parliamentary history of Hesse, with an overview of its geographical extent, its constitution, and details concerning its various parliaments. The biographical section encompasses a total of 1,036 persons. In “Main Section A” they are listed according to the Parliament to which they belonged. This section also includes a list of election districts. “Main Section B” contains the biographical entries themselves, arranged alphabetically by name. An interesting appendix gives information on 55 parliamentarians in the periods 1820-1855 and 1881-1884 who were elected but who were prevented by various circumstances from actually taking their seats.

The biographical entries provide surname, given names, academic degree if applicable, birth and death dates, religious affiliation (i.e., Lutheran, Catholic, etc.), and information on the person’s family. The quality of the information given is uneven; one wonders if the compilers consulted the very comprehensive Hessische Archiv-Dokumentationsund Informations-System at the Staatsarchiv in Darmstadt.

In conclusion, one cannot accurately describe this publication as a “thorough revision” of its predecessors. Additionally, the relatively large typeface used and the generous amount of space left between lines of print lend the volume a heft which belies the actual significance of its contents. This must be considered a lost chance to provide a truly comprehensive biographical listing of Hesse’s parliamentarians. [jli/crc]

Unsere Ministerpräsidenten in Nordrhein-Westfalen: neun Porträts von Rudolf Amelunxen bis Jürgen Rüttgers [Our Minister-Presidents in North Rhine- Westphalia: Nine Portraits, from Rudolf Amelunxen to Jürgen Rüttgers]. Ed. Sven Gösmann. Düsseldorf: Droste, 2008. 272 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3- 7700-1292-3: EUR 24.95

This example of political biography consists of sketches of the nine minister presidents of North Rhine-Westphalia from its creation by occupying British forces in 1946 until the present. The profiles were written by political scientists at academic institutions in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The politicians profiled (and their term as minister president) include Rudolf Amelunxen (1946-1947); Karl Arnold (1947-1956); Fritz Steinhoff (1956-1958); Franz Meyers (1958-1966); Heinz Kühn (1966-1978); Johannes Rau (1978-1998); Wolfgang Clement (1998-2002); Peer Steinbrück (2002-2005); and Jürgen Rüttgers (2005-2010). Hannelore Kraft (2010- ) was the first woman elected minister president, which occurred after this work went to press.

This collection of political profiles includes an index to persons and a chronology that could have been a bit more detailed. [jli/jb]

Deutsche Kommunisten: biographisches Handbuch 1918 bis 1945 [German Communists: A Biographical Handbook, 1918 to 1945]. Hermann Weber and Andreas Herbst. 2d rev. and expanded ed. Berlin: Dietz, 2008. 1167 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-320-02130-6: EUR 70.00

The first edition of this biography collection was previously reviewed in detail (see RREA 10:540). The second edition has grown by 160 pages. In other words, 275 biographies were added to the 1,400 of the first edition. In these biographies, one mainly finds persons who were members of the German communist party, particularly those in leading positions. Unfortunately, the editors refrained from listing all bibliographical references, including instead only those from the last five years. This is still an important collective biography of a group of people who may be researched insufficiently in earlier publications. [sh/mr]

“Unsere Frauen stehen ihren Mann”: Frauen in der Volkskammer der DDR 1950 bis 1989; ein biographisches Handbuch [“Our Women Are Doing Their Duty”: Women in the Parliament of the GDR, 1950 to 1989; A Biographical Handbook]. Ed. Rita Pawlowski. Berlin: Trafo-Verlag, 2008. 353 p. 21 cm. (Gesellschaft, Geschichte, Gegenwart, 37). ISBN 978-3-89626-652-1: EUR 49.80

East Germany’s Parliament—the Volkskammer—has vanished from the public memory, and even before 1989 no one except the members of parliament themselves really cared about it. The former parliament building—the “Palace of the Republic”—has been out of the picture since 2008, when it was finally demolished. Even academic scholarship on the history of the GDR has not paid much attention to parliamentarism.

This compendium lists 651 women parliamentary members, begining with the first election in 1950 through the ninth election in 1986. The last election, in 1990, is not included, and thus one of the most important members of the parliament is not listed: Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, its last president and de facto the last head of state.

The book offers facts, but no critical questioning. It is a good source for information and perhaps the basis for a future documentation of the entire parliament. In any case it is informative as a document of “Ostalgie” (the nostalgia for the supposed delights of the GDR). [jli/mr]

Next Section
Previous Section
Table of Contents

Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: January 2013 [LC]
© 2013 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483