On History, Theory and Explanation*
It may not be accidental that the author is a rare specimen of the almost extinct species of gentlemen scholars from which the greatest luminaries of the English intellect have come in the past. Despite being very much in the English tradition in respect of the material basis for his scholarly activity, Anderson is very un-English in his propensity for injecting sociological perspectives into the writing of history, and in his encompassing even more than the entire history of Europe. Anderson’s approach falls neatly into the tradition of German scholarship of the classic era, which not only disregarded the frontiers between history and sociology, but deliberately transcended them. Comparing the volumes under review with the works mentioned above we can see the enormous accumulation of knowledge about the history of institutions, conditions and structures.