The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956

Book Reviews

volume Dr. Shafer has avoided the pitfalls of too narrow and
limited a concept of nationalism and has constantly and some-
times mercilessly exposed the prejudices which have gone into the
making of nationalist cults.
After dismissing as invalid various definitions of nationalism
which have been made, Dr. Shafer takes up the metaphysical,
environmental, racial, economic, linguistic, and historical myths
which various persons have invented to explain the special
attributes of nations. Then he traces the political, economic, cur-
tural, and religious factors which contributed to the develop-
ment of national consciousness in various states of Western Europe
by the eighteenth century. There are two interesting chapters
dealing with the steps taken by national governments to stim-
ulate national patriotism during the period of the French Revo-
lution and with the spread of nationalism during the same period.
A chapter on the progress of nationalism between 1815 and 1955
brings the historical analysis to a close. Next Dr. Shafer discusses
the cultural and institutional pressures which have shaped the
intense, sometimes fanatical, nationalism of the twentieth cen-
tury. In the final chapter, which is a reprint of an article pub-
lished in The American Historical Review in 1952, the author
mercilessly exposes the pseudo-scientific fallacies inherent in most
nationalist concepts and points out the numerous similarities of
all people, regardless of the racial or nationalist grouping to which
they may belong.
The book is interestingly written and easy to follow. It should
help considerably in arousing in America more interest in and
a deeper understanding of the most powerful single force in the
world today: nationalism.
R. JOHN RATH
The University of Texas
Presidential Ballots: 1836-1892. By W. Dean Burnham. Baltimore
(The Johns Hopkins Press), 1955. Pp. xix+956. $1o.oo.
This is likely to become one of the most used and useful refer-
ence books on the shelves of many a university and public library.
The period it covers may make it somewhat less popular during
campaign years than Edgar E. Robinson's work on a later era.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed August 22, 2014.