WU professor explores history of European socialism in new book

by University Communications,

Professor William Smaldone’s newest book, “European Socialism: A Concise History with Documents,” provides a succinct, updated and accessible telling of the history of European socialism.

Released on Aug. 15, classes across the country are already using the book. It retails for $29.95 and is available in the Willamette Store and on Amazon.com.

“There are many books about European socialism,” Smaldone says, “but the problem is that they are either too long, very dense or they are no longer current.”

Smaldone became a history professor at Willamette in 1991 and has taught the history of modern socialism for more than 20 years. Combining his doctoral research and his Willamette experience, he wrote a textbook on European socialism on the advice of his wife, fellow history professor Jennifer Jopp.

Smaldone spent two years writing and editing the manuscript. His students — who are thanked in the first few pages of the book — read the manuscript in class and provided invaluable feedback, Smaldone says.

The book is 344 pages long and is comprised of visual documents and other written sources, enabling students to reference multiple forms of history in one textbook. Smaldone says the information is useful for both introductory and advanced courses.

Mark Blum, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, reviewed Smaldone’s book. As someone who specializes in modern European cultural and intellectual history, Blum says Smaldone’s work has a universal appeal.

“William Smaldone offers a history of socialism that is ideal for a student who is being introduced to the sweep of the idea, yet sufficiently thoughtful to inform scholars,” he says.

Blum is now working with Smaldone on a new project, which will tackle the theoretical and practical interpretations of the world developed by the Austro-Marxists.

Smaldone’s other publications include “Rudolf Hilferding: The Tragedy of a German Social Democrat,” and “Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic, 1929-1933.”

“This work follows a logical arc from my first two books,” Smaldone says. “My first book was a biography, while the second was a group biography, and this work places all of these men and women in a broader, European context.”

• Article by Natalie Pate '15, politics major