“My attention was drawn to Ireland by footnotes,” writes the author. “Over and over again the literature of comparative politics noted simply ‘except in Ireland’.... The question that puzzled me was, Why should this be so?” Professor Carty’s answers to the question appear in this detailed study that sheds new light on the question of establishing democratic politics after a war of independence, on the impact of electoral laws on party competition, on the social bases of political competition, and on the way political machines work in modern democracies. As a case study the book also analyzes the peculiarly conservative syndrome into which Irish politics has fallen. Carty concludes that political institutions and the activities of politicians make a considerable difference to the organization and conduct of public life. The book will interest students of comparative politics, history, and political sociology, as well as those concerned with the shape and direction of society and politics in contemporary Ireland.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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