September 17, 2004
Delving Into Democracy's Shadows
The sociologist Michael Mann took a detour from his epic study of power in human history. It led him straight to the horrors at the center of modern life.
Scholarly books often resemble the pyramids erected for minor officials in ancient Egypt. Impressive in their way -- and built to last -- they are, nonetheless, difficult to tell apart. By contrast, The Sources of Social Power, by Michael Mann, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles and a visiting research professor at Queens University Belfast, is "audacious in scope, ambitious in objective, and provocative in challenge," as the American