This section includes book notes of 150-300 words as well as some book reviews of 600-900 words on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If you have either suggestions for books you would like to review or see reviewed (including recent books of your own), please contact Nigel Copsey of the University of Teesside (UK).
Terri E. Givens, Voting Radical Right in Western Europe, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 188 pp., GBP 35.00/USD 65.00, ISBN 0521-85134-3 (hbk). Reviewed by Elisabeth Carter (Keele University, UK) This book seeks to explain why some radical right parties have been electorally more successful than others. In order to solve this so-called â€˜puzzleâ€™, Givens compares the types of appeals made by parties of the radical right and the types of voters these parties attract. She then examines the relationship between the radical right party vote and aggregate levels of immigration and unemployment. As expected (by her and indeed by the reader), she concludes that these factors cannot explain the partiesâ€™ differing levels of electoral success. The parties have similar ideological appeals and they attract similar types of voters, and yet they experience varying levels of success. Furthermore, Givens finds that while levels of unemployment and immigration are positively related to the radical right party vote in Austria and France, there is no such relationship in Germany. In light of these findings, Givens then examines the relationship between party systems, electoral rules and the vote for the radical right parties. She pays particular attention to incentives for strategic voting and to the strategic behaviour of the mainstream parties. She concludes that radical right parties will have difficulty attracting voters and winning seats in electoral systems that encourage strategic voting and/or strategic coordination by the mainstream parties. The book discusses many different factors that potentially influence the success of parties of the radical right and the emphasis that Givens places on strategic voting and on mainstream party strategy in helping to account for the differing levels of electoral success of the parties is particularly welcome. That said, the study does have a number of limitations. First and foremost, since the analysis is based on only four countries, the hypotheses are not adequately tested and the conclusions reached in the book are not amenable to generalization. This is a shame, and