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Book review: A Life Beyond Boundaries: A Memoir by Benedict Anderson

By Sameer Rahim   May 2016

9781784784560-max_221-2b13e17141f26373888b3c46493677d6Verso, £14.99

Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities was an unlikely academic bestseller that profoundly influenced a number of disciplines—from political science to comparative literature. When the book was published in 1983, Anderson, who died last year aged 79, was primarily an anthropologist working on south-east Asia.

As he relates in this engaging and winningly modest memoir, Imagined Communities was addressed primarily to the Marxist thinkers orbiting his brother Perry Anderson of New Left Review. It argued that nationalism, despite its claims to antiquity, was a product of 19th-century print culture. Rich in anecdote and…

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