Caroline Close and Emilie van Haute’s collection, Liberal Parties in Europe, is a substantial, serious study coming in at just under 400 pages and with an eye-watering academic price tag to match. Ranging over 28 countries, 20 of which get more detailed study, this comparative work investigates how liberal parties have evolved over time, their similarities and their differences.
A notable comparative theme is how liberalism produces party structures that tend towards more decentralisation and greater power for individual members. One comparative theme that is under-developed in the book is the importance of the rules of politics, especially the choice of electoral systems, in how liberal parties have evolved and fared. There is no systematic analysis of the impact of significant moments of changes in the rules in different countries.
There is though much else in the book to help the reader understand the evolution of liberal parties, and perhaps their future too.
If you like this, you might also be interested in The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964 by Peter Sloman.
Note: a review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher.