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Publisher's Summary

Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson's brilliant book on nationalism, forged a new field of study when it first appeared in 1983. Since then it has sold over a quarter of a million copies and is widely considered the most important book on the subject. In this greatly anticipated revised edition, Anderson updates and elaborates on the core question: What makes people live and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their names?

Anderson examines the creation and global spread of the "imagined communities" of nationality, and explores the processes that created these communities: the territorialization of religious faiths, the decline of antique kingship, the interaction between capitalism and print, the development of secular languages-of-state, and changing conceptions of time and space. He shows how an originary nationalism born in the Americas was adopted by popular movements in Europe, by imperialist powers, and by the anti-imperialist resistances in Asia and Africa.

In a new afterword, Anderson examines the extraordinary influence of imagined communities. He also explores the book's international publication and reception, from its first publication toward the end of the Cold War era to the present day.

©1983 Benedict Anderson (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Sparkling, readable, densely packed." ( Guardian)

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What listeners say about Imagined Communities

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Lots of useful information, abundant references. Solid arguments.

What other book might you compare Imagined Communities to and why?

It is hard to compare.

Have you listened to any of Kevin Foley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

have not.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

the ideas that influenced the ideology of nationalism, the purpose and interests of powerful entities that made this happen in multiple countries.

Any additional comments?

It bothered me when he quoted other authors in their own languages, It just happened too many times and it served no didactic purpose.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book, robotic narration

The book lived up to its reputation but the narration didn't do it justice. Will refer to the hard copy in future but this was a good introduction.

4 people found this helpful

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Heavy debatable theory

The theory is heavily abstract that pulls away from individual agency in history. It relies on national propaganda narratives to prove a point that is not necessarily true on the individual level. Although nationalism can be seen as a modern phenomenon, the boundaries which communities from tribal to empire has always been set. Racism is not modern either because human beings have always categorize "the other" and dehumanize those they felt threaten by. These all have origins which are not accounted for.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Like a statistics book with no charts…

There are some fantastic passages in several languages throughout this book. At least, I think so.

They are read in their mother tongue and not translated to English for the English version of this audiobook. There’s no way to compare what is being said to anything that provides sense to the conversation. Now, I’m smart enough to understand the premise of what the author is saying through 98% of this book, but that seems like an obnoxious oversight in a book like this. It’s like a statistics book with no accompanying charts and graphs.

The book itself is incredible, the narrator does a great job, and the updated version provides greater insight from the author. Three stars for the half a dozen or so lengthy passages that were not in English.

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excellent book, excellent reading

there are so few broad historical and anthropological perspectives on the ideas of nationalism and its situational history. this stands out, because it questions the "official" ethno-nationalism indoctrinated for Macchiavellian reasons and also the "revolutionary" folk nationalisms that get created, especially the "races" that so many continue to accept as real.

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good academic starter on nationalism

book can be a bit esoteric at times, and many passages will warrant re-reading. but it is an interesting constructionist take with a Foucaldian tone.

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A Bit Too Academic

Thought I'd like it more but I found this book to be very dry and repetitive, only really worth reading if you're an academic accustomed to this writing style.

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Well worth listening too

Without getting too deep into detail, IC gives a rather satisfying argument as to what nationalism is, how do we understand it, and where it came from. However, I was not satisfied with Anderson’s analysis on the relation but racism and nationalism. Other than that, this is an essential read for anyone interested in political or social history

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Unsuitable as an audiobook

Long sentences that take 30+ seconds to read make this audiobook impossible to follow. By the time the sentence ends, it is difficult to remember how it began.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book, aufile narration.

Well written, I could've enjoyed it far more better without the robotic narration which rendered the book almost unreadable/ hearable ... added to that those moments when the narrator starts reading the non English parts of the book ... ahhhhhh.