Recasting Bourgeois Europe accomplished two major historiographical goals simultaneously. First, Maier provided a comparative history of three different European societies for a period when common developments demanded an approach other than that of the usual national histories. Second, he rethought the political structure of the European interwar period. Although most accounts presented the 1920s as a time characterized by illusory attempts to return to a prewar political equilibrium, and doomed to succumb to the Depression and the dictatorships, Maier suggested instead that the stabilization of the 1920s, vulnerable as it was, foreshadowed the more enduring political stability achieved after World War II.
Charles S. Maier is the Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University. His many books include Among Empires, and Dissolution: the Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany (Princeton). He is a member of the council on Foreign Relations.