At once an attempt at a new interpretation of nationalism and a history of its development in England, France, Russia, Germany and the United States, ranging from the sixteenth century to the present. The author, a Harvard sociologist, regards nationalism as the fundamental fact of modernity and sees it arising from both a collective and individual desire for dignity. The book focuses on the major thinkers in these five countries and their responses to particular conditions. The exposition is clear, even when the sociological interpretation is a bit abstract and the history erroneous. The German section is particularly weak. The author's reach is far greater than her grasp.