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Essential Books for Comparative Comprehensives


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I am almost through my core course in comparative politics and will take my comp in May or August. I am interested to see what others thought would be essential texts to own, not just read. I have a lot already, but I am looking for edited volumes such as Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences by Mahoney and Rauschmeyer. I am going to buy the new Comparative Politics by Lichbach, but are there any other suggestions?

Here are some of the texts that I already have and have read:

Olson - Logic of Collective Action

Schumpeter - CSD

Kingdon - Agendas

Huntington - Political Order; The Third Wave

Horowitz - Ethnic Groups & Conflict

Moore - Origins

Anderson - Imagined Communities

Tarrow - Power in Movement

Polanyi - The Great Transformation

Neustadt - Presidential Power

Tsebelis - Nested Games

Putnam - Making Democracy Work

Gellner - Nations & Nationalism

Lijphart - Patterns of Democracy

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It really depends on your department and how this process works. Do they give you a list? Do you make your own list? Is it oral or written? What kinds of topics does your department specialize in? The list you gave seems very oriented toward the classics of comparative historical analysis, which is fine as long as that is what is expected of you. Broadly speaking, there are also very few recent books on here. I would just make sure that you are not so classics focused that you will wind up taking the exam and looking like you are not in touch with trends and developments in recent scholarship. There are a lot of topics, some hot, that really aren't represented in your list.

Assuming that the kind of stuff you are listing is properly the focus of what you should be preparing for, I would also recommend for edited volumes:

Thelen and Steinmo - Structuring Politics

Thelen and Streek - Beyond Continuity (at least intro)

Hall and Soskice - Varieties of Capitalism (at least intro)

Bates and Grief - Analytic Narratives

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I should have been more clear. They give us a list (a monster), but I cannot purchase all of the books. Therefore I have to get the most bang for the buck. I think that Steinmo is on my list, but I might just read it from the library. I am interested in opinions on volumes such as Oxford's Comparative Politics Compendium that just came out, though that one is 180 bucks.

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Bueno de Mesquita et. al. The logic of political survival. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003.

Cox, Gary. Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems. Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Przeworski, Adam. States and Markets: A Primer in Political Economy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

edit: Sorry, I didn't read the comment above. Although, my advice is to go to the library and read as many of those books as you can. I would not rely on Oxford Handbooks.

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