Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World” as Want to Read:
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  393 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A landmark in comparative history and a challenge to scholars of all lands who are trying to learn how we arrived at where we are now.-New York Times Book Review...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Beacon Press (first published 1966)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

Honor and Polygamy by Omar FarhadThe Prince by Niccolò MachiavelliThe Republic by PlatoThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxPolitics by Aristotle
21st out of 193 books — 220 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasLord Peter by Dorothy L. SayersSir Gawain and the Green Knight by UnknownLittle Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Lords, Dukes, Earls and Sirs In The Title
74th out of 210 books — 11 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,490)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
T.F. Rhoden
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World is a masterful example of comparative historical analysis. More than any of the pieces I have been reading these past few weeks, Barrington Moore, Jr. is able to build as solid of an argument for the three major "routes to the modern world" from agrarian society as he does for the importance of qualitative methodologies in general. In other words, what he analyzes is as important, I believe, as how h...more
I only got through the first half of this before other, more pressing books forced it back to the library, but I will definitely return to it. I wouldn't recommend sitting down with it and reading cover to cover, but if you ever want some questions answered about why different countries end up with different systems of government, this is great. How did England and France both end up with democracy, when their approaches to it were so different? Why did China and Russia end up communist, while I...more
Kw Estes
Though I was almost moved to give this 4 stars, I reconsidered upon reflecting that the only reason I would have done so is that this was the first book I'd read in months without regression tables or game theoretical models. All in all, it is an information-laden tome that presents a fairly simple theory of how democracies came to be (the use-value for explaining democratization in the contemporary context, I think, is sorely lacking). Moore obviously knows a lot about a lot, but the narrative...more
Ryan Milbrath
Social Originis of Dictatorship and Democracy to me was one of the books that comes along that stands as the pinnacle of comparative history and discussions of the political economy. One of the top five most important books I have read in my life. One review does not due justice to the amount of research and theoretical comparisons Moore accomplished in this book. Those who reduce the book's thesis to merely, if a bourgeois class does not exist, than a democratic-capitalist country will not exis...more
Mark Desrosiers
It's like you're getting twisted and pressed into Barrington Moore's densely packed brainfolds: so much knowledge, such a broad vision. I like these macrohistorians, they got balls. And it's harder to figure out their mistakes. Possibly the best course-assigned text I've ever read.
Oct 24, 2008 Tate rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like ugly book jackets
This book made a really good doorstop. The pages were textured just right to grip the carpet, and it was thick enough to wedge under the door.
a long, excruciating survey of the historical and sociological origins of parliamentary democracy, fascism, and communism in britain, germany, france, russia, china, india, and japan. i frequently have trouble separating my opinions of the content of a book from the author's ability to express that content clearly. this is a turgid, meandering tome that never seems to specify a main thesis or process clearly. small N analyses often resort to massaging the theory in order to show that the empiric...more
Mar 16, 2009 Nick is currently reading it
Whoaa. Moore isn't exactly a linear fellow. Recommend taking one chapter, at minimum and maximum, at a time. Re-read salient passages and hop around within chapters in order to follow the argument. He is good at quickly deconstructing recent historical theories and replacing them with a more pragmatic view.

What about religion? I'm about half way through and not much mention of religion at all for a "social" history. He disparages (mostly rightly) a number of Marxist arguments but is quite mater...more
This book is a classic piece of work that reworked the ground for peasant studies. An amazing amount of information on peasant-landlord relations from places as diverse as France, USA, and China. It is interesting to read his thoughts on India, which I felt are similar to what many are expressing about Sub-Saharan Africa countries. While the book may seem to be just good history, or for critics maybe "anachronistic", I found the theories and insights to be highly relevant to my work in the borde...more
It's ... very informative. I am learning a lot about, you know, revolutions and such. ...definitely not one that I would be able to force myself through if it was not for class, regardless of how much of an "Important Text" its considered to be.

It's difficult to follow and the point that the author is makig ...kind of comes and goes. ...Hope none of my professors see this....
Excellent readding, althoug I failled to read it completely, for I had to return it. It was borowed to me by a colege professor. She came and simply ofered it for me to read. It was my first semester in colege, I still don't know how she figured out it was about one of my main interests. I guess she just liked me...
A classic look at the costs of modernization and the costs of inequality in producing the modern world. Dated, now--- but a fiercely reasoned account. Very much a book anyone interested in Russian serfdom, the English agricultural and industrial revolutions, or the end of the Ancien Regime in France should read.
Christopher Tang
An amazing read that helped define how I see the world of politics. This is not a light weight book or a breezy read. Moore presents a challenging read with every sentence heavy with ideas. I read this book as an undergraduate studying political science and never looked back.
Al-Hossain Al-Nour
الكتاب يتحدث بعمق عن التاريخ الاستبدادي لفرنسا و انجلترا و اميركا و كيف قامت فيها ثورات غيرت وجه التاريخ بأكمله ، الكتاب ليس بالمختصر ، ولمن ليس مهتماً بتاريخ أوروبا التفصيلي فلا أنصحه بقراءته ، إضافة إلى سوء الترجمة !!
This is magnificent. It suddenly puts revolutionary thought into the perspective of those who are thinking those thoughts, and why. This has now led me to Walzer.
Anthony Galluzzo

More people should read Barrington Moore. and social scientists should once again at least attempt work in this broadly conceptual yet empirically rigorous vein....
Written in the 60's but still extremely relevant. Took a long time to finish though, you get a lot of facts and figures, but still worth it though.
If you want to know how cetain countries become democratic and how those countries function, i recommend you to read this book.

I unfortunately had to do ye olde grad school reading of this text. It is one I definitely want to revist in detail.
Sara Fabulous
This book is too detailed and in the end he makes grandiose claims that come out of nowhere.
Dipa  Raditya
A brief book to learn between a class relations and dictatorship in the modern world
sonsöz kitabın kendisi kadar hatta kendisinden iyi. layk.
Don't remember this well. I read it 20 years ago.
great start for comprehending historical sociology
Materialist explanations of history and culture. Alright.
May 15, 2013 Horza added it
Have pecked at this, and will probably come back.
good leterature
Feb 08, 2008 Kerry added it
Shelves: foundations
Must read
Aug 25, 2011 Urba is currently reading it
Vak'a-Nüvis marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 49 50 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China
  • The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age
  • Pushkin: A Biography
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
  • Coercion, Capital and European States: Ad 990 - 1992
  • The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion
  • My Life As Author And Editor
  • The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (Peloponnesian War)
  • Moliere: A Biography
  • Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
  • The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (Studies in Social Discontinuity)
  • Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • George W. Bushisms: The Slate Book of Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President
  • The Holy Barbarians
Injustice Moral Purity and Persecution in History Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery and Upon Certain Proposals to Eliminate Them Political Power and Social Theory: Six Studies Terror and Progress-USSR: Some Sources of Change and Stability in the Soviet Dictatorship

Share This Book