This is a pioneering comparative study of the early years of the British Labour Party and the German Social Democratic Party. Stefan Berger examines the history of both parties over thirty years, focusing on their organization, their integration into state and society, their ideology, their cultural and recreational activities, and their relationship with each other. Dr Berger argues that the traditional view of deep-seated cultural and ideological differences between British and European Labour movements is in need of substantial revision. Based on a wealth of primary material from both British and German archives, the book's controversial conclusions will open up new perspectives on old debates.
`This is a compelling thesis, well-argued and extensively researched. The view of the Labour Party is particularly convincing ... Stefan Berger has written an excellent book, full of challenges to orthodoxy and brimming with new insights. He has a good case, and if there is the occasional tendency to overstate it, that is surely excusable. The book is, truly, a contribution to knowledge and one which must be taken note of by all future historians of the
British and German labour movements.'
`Based on a massive literature and his own researches in many different archives... his book serves as a welcome antidote to certain Sonderweg theories.....this is an important, useful, and stimulating book, with a mass of new evidence and many forceful arguments.'
The International History Review
`International comparisons present the historian with a daunting task...It is one of the strengths of this book that its author shows an awareness of many of these difficulties...well researched monograph...effective revision of orthodox national stereotypes'
`This provides a very substantial synthesis of a very wide range of writing on German and British labour history. It deserves to be a standard work for many years ... this is one of the best recent books on labour history .,.. It is impressive in its research, and its author is not afraid to discuss many challenging ideas. It would be good if it were issued in paperback, so that it has a better chance to reach the large audience that it deserves.'
Chris Wrigley, University of Nottingham, EHR Apr. 97
`Berger has written an important work that actually practices what so many historians preach but do not carry out: comparative history. Berger reveals a greater consonance between the worldviews of British and German rank-and-file than had been recognized ... This book deserves to be read by British, German, and labor historians.'
C.R. Jackson, University of California at Berkeley, Choice, January 1996 Vol.33 No.5