Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised Edition)
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, die and kill in the name of nations? 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, and explores the way communities were created by the growth of the nation-state, the interaction between capitalism and printing, and the birth of vernacular languages-of-state. Anderson revisits these fundamental ideas, showing how their relevance has been tested by the events of the past two decades.
I’ve read this book multiple times. It is essential if you want to write about nationalism.
Seriously, Imagined Communities is excellent. The way he links philology to the rise of nationalism in Europe is fascinating. He also posits that the American nations were the blueprints for the nations of Europe, which is an interesting turn on the standard historiography.