Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism. By Daniel Ziblatt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. 288p. $42.00.
Federal “solutions” are bandied about by armchair constitutional designers, their purported benefits for Iraq or elsewhere debated on talk shows and in academic conferences. At times, the support for federalism seems based on its apparent middling position between unitary government and partition; it is a compromise. But is federalism feasible? Federation is not easy to pull off, and Daniel Ziblatt's book, written about two cases of state formation in the mid-nineteenth century, should be read by all who advocate federalism in transitioning states today because it provides us with a careful analysis of the potential for fractured states to embrace federal unification.