November 1989: East Germans danced on the Berlin wall and the Communist regime began to collapse. A unique revolution occurred: changes were brought about by peaceful, spontaneous demonstrations. No group organized the famous gatherings of thousands of people at the Karl Marx Square in Leipzig on October 9, 1989. Why did so many citizens participate although they risked their lives? Why were the demonstrations peaceful? How was it possible that so many people demonstrated without any organization? What part did the church and opposition groups play in the emergence of the revolution? Why didn't the government crack down the demonstrations? How did political events such as the liberalization in Eastern Europe influence the demonstrations? In a readable and accessible style, "Origins of Spontaneous Revolution" provides an explanation of this revolution based in rational actor theory. The authors support their arguments with documents, jokes, and a unique data set: one year after the revolutionary events a representative survey of 1300 Leipzig residents was conducted focusing exclusively on the revolutionary period. This book will be of interest to sociologists and other social scientists such as historians and political scientists. Karl Dieter Opp, Peter Voss, and Christiane Gern are members of the faculty of the Institute of Sociology, University of Hamburg.
"Once in a lifetime." The phrase comes up over and over from the people who worked on Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings. "The film's seventeen Oscars, record-setting earnings, huge fan base, and hundreds of ancillary products attest to its importance and to the fact that "Rings "is far more than a film. Its makers seized a crucial moment in Hollywood--the special effects digital revolution plus the rise of "infotainment" and the Internet--to satisfy the trilogy's fans while fostering a huge new international audience. The resulting franchise of franchises has earned billions of dollars to date with no end in sight. Kristin Thompson interviewed seventy-six people to examine the movie's scripting and design and the new technologies deployed to produce the films, video games, and DVDs. She demonstrates the impact "Rings "had on the companies that made it, on the fantasy genre, on New Zealand, and on independent cinema. In fast-paced, compulsively readable prose, she affirms Jackson's "Rings " as one the most important films ever made.
A new, brash, and unexpected view of the president we thought we knew, from the bestselling author of Astoria Two decades before he led America to independence, George Washington was a flailing young soldier serving the British Empire in the vast wilderness of the Ohio Valley. Nave and self-absorbed, the twenty-two-year-old officer accidentally ignited the French and Indian Wara conflict that opened colonists to the possibility of an American Revolution. With powerful narrative drive and vivid writing, Young Washington recounts the wilderness trials, controversial battles, and emotional entanglements that transformed Washington from a temperamental striver into a mature leader. Enduring terrifying summer storms and subzero winters imparted resilience and self-reliance, helping prepare him for what he would one day face at Valley Forge. Leading the Virginia troops into battle taught him to set aside his own relentless ambitions and stand in solidarity with those who looked to him for leadership. Negotiating military strategy with British and colonial allies honed his diplomatic skills. And thwarted in his obsessive, youthful love for one woman, he grew to cultivate deeper, enduring relationships. By weaving together Washington's harrowing wilderness adventures and a broader historical context, Young Washington offers new insights into the dramatic years that shaped the man who shaped a nation.
This first collection of Peter Beilharz's highly influential thought traces the themes and problems, manifestations, and trajectories of socialism and modernity as they connect and shift over a twenty-year period. Woven throughout Beilharz's analysis is the urgent question of modern utopia: how do we imagine freedom and equality in modernity? The essays in this volume explore the relationship between socialism and modernity across the United States, Europe, and Australia from the mid-1980s to the turn of the twenty-first century, a time that witnessed the global triumph of capitalism and the dramatic turn away from Marxism and socialism to modernity as the dominant perspective. According to Beilharz, we have seen the expansion of a kind of Weberian Marxism, with the concept of revolution giving way to the idea of pluralized forms of power and the idea of rupture giving way to the postmodern sense of difference. These changes come together with the discourse of modernism, both aesthetic and technological. Socialism and modernity, Beilharz argues, are fundamentally interrelated. In correcting the conflation of Marxism, Bolshevism, and socialism that occludes contemporary political thinking, he reopens a space for discussion of what socialist politics might look like now-in the postcommunist-postcolonial-postmodern moment.