From Library Journal
Kertzer (anthropology, Bowdoin) credibly argues that political symbols manifested through rites explain much of the political life of modern nations, contrary to the usual rational, utilitarian, and interest-group explanations. He argues that rituals are not merely meaningful to the poorly educatedelites use rituals to support the existing order and revolutionaries use them to replace it. He provides numerous examples from primitive and modern societies (including the United States). The book will appeal to many political scientists and general readers. Although well documented, it avoids much of the vocabulary of academe.